Dutch borders stay open, says minister ahead of key EU meeting
The Netherlands will not follow Germany and close its borders temporarily because of the surge in refugee numbers, a spokesman for junior justice minister Klaas Dijkhoff told the Telegraaf on Sunday evening.
‘We are keeping an eye on what this means for the stream of refugees,’ the spokesman said. Some 3,100 asylum seekers came to the Netherlands last week.
European ministers are meeting on Monday afternoon to discuss the refugee crisis and to try to find an acceptable way to resettle 160,000 asylum seekers across all member states.
The Netherlands has said it will take an extra 7,000 refugees under the redistribution plan if the EU agrees to focus on setting up refugee camps close to the war zones.
At the same time, MPs from across the political spectrum said they understood why Germany had closed its border with Austria and that the situation reinforced the need for a Europe-wide solution.
VVD MP Malik Azmani said he hopes European ministers will ‘really’ tackle the problem on Monday. Europe’s borders need to be better controlled and safe havens need to be set up in the conflict regions, he said.
‘Asylum procedures must be halted,’ the MP said. ‘This is the only way to stop people making the dangerous trip to Europe.’ Only refugees who are invited to the Netherlands should be allowed in, Azmani told the Telegraaf.
It is time that European countries work together on this, Labour MP Attje Kuiken told the paper. ‘The idea of every man for himself has had its day,’ Kuiken said.
‘It is clear that Germany is in a difficult position,’ said D66 parliamentarian Sjoerd Sjoerdsma. ‘This underscores the need for a real European approach.’
European countries should take their joint responsibilities seriously, said GroenLinks spokeswoman Linda Voortman. ‘Otherwise we are just lurching from emergency solution to emergency solution.’
Geert Wilders, leader of the anti-immigration PVV, called for Dutch borders to be closed immediately. ‘Now the Netherlands,’ he said on Twitter. ‘Close the borders and let no more asylum seekers in. Enough is enough.’