Kingdom of the Netherlands
The European Union, 2018
Political & Economic Tensions from the Refugee Crisis
Civilians in the Middle East, namely Afghanistan and Syria, as well as some countries in Northern Africa, are being put at risk by national and violent conflicts. Some of these conflicts are the result of the turmoil caused by the Taliban and other terrorist organizations, while others are caused by protests against oppressive regimes in countries such as Tunisia and Libya. In Afghanistan, more than 2,500 civilians were killed in the midst of conflict between the Taliban and Afghanistan’s forces. The conflict in Afghanistan does not seem as if it will be resolved in the near future despite peacekeeping efforts. In 2016, it became apparent that 20.9% of refugees in the European Union had fled the conflicts in Afghanistan. The Arab Spring, also an uprising against authoritarian leaders, toppled several governments, and challenged the regimes of several others. The Arab Spring caused tension between religious sects, causing millions in the area to resettle, fearing persecution or further oppressive governing. The conflict in Iraq contributed to about 9% of the total refugee population of the European Union. Finally, the conflict in Syria, exacerbated by the involvement of several foreign governments, has caused 4.5 million civilians to flee the country, about 450,000 of them seeking refuge in Europe. The increased number of refugees in Europe over the past several years has caused tension between several member states of the European Union, and places both economic and political strain on the region. Growing anti-Islamic sentiment in several member states has caused several unsafe conditions to arise, and the processes used to admit refugees are often complex, causing backups in admission.
The Dutch government has entered an agreement with several other European Union member states to divide refugees among these member states based on several factors, including national income and unemployment figures. Previously, the Dutch government agreed to house only 2,000 refugees living in Italy and Greece; however, recently, due to increasing refugee populations and the humanitarian goals of the Dutch government, the Kingdom of the Netherlands has agreed to admit 7,000 more refugees in the next two years, and plans to admit more as time goes on, exceeding the mandated number of refugees the Netherlands must admit. According to the UNHCR, the Netherlands has taken in 111,629 total refugees, while Poland has only taken in 25,965 refugees, and Slovakia a marginal 2,480. In response to the rapidly increasing number of refugees and the increased possibility of false refugees entering the European Union, the Kingdom of the Netherlands has increased border checks in the Schengen Area, under section 4.17a of the Alien Decree. This is a simple solution which is allowed by the Court of Justice for the EU’s restrictions on border checks within the Schengen Area, and which also further guarantees the safety of both citizens and refugees. The example set by this will likely be followed by several other member states, as it is a simple and efficient solution to potential vulnerability of security. The rehousing of refugees follows a simple set-up in the Netherlands which allows a maximum number of refugees to find suitable housing in a minimal amount of time. They are often provided with housing in the subsidized sector or in empty office buildings.
The Kingdom of the Netherlands firmly believes that increasing legal protections for refugees in countries that are not admitting a reasonable number of refugees will allow more refugees to enter south-eastern countries that are traditionally Christian and often have anti-Islamic views. The Kingdom of the Netherlands also believes that refugees must be distributed among European countries evenly according to wealth, population, housing availability, etcetera, and that this must be enforced both nationally by individual governments and internationally, by pressure from other member states in the interest of protecting all people. It is also paramount that safe living conditions in safe countries in the area of crisis, such as Turkey, be further instituted. Cooperation with governments both within and outside of the European Union is necessary as the number of refugees entering the European Union increases. Political, religious, and racial differences must be put aside in the interest of human rights for all, one key tenet of the European Union.
Ministerie van Algemene Zaken. “Refugees in the Netherlands.” Food | Government.nl, Ministerie Van Algemene Zaken, 4 Oct. 2016, www.government.nl/topics/asylum-policy/refugees-in-the-netherlands.
Ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken. “Human Rights.” PR UN, New York | The Netherlands at International Organisations, Ministerie Van Buitenlandse Zaken, 2 Feb. 2017, www.permanentrepresentations.nl/permanent-representations/pr-un-geneva/the-mission/organisation/political-affairs/human-rights.
Ministerie van Justitie en Veiligheid. “The Schengen Countries.” Food | Government.nl, Ministerie Van Algemene Zaken, 9 Sept. 2015, www.government.nl/topics/european-union/schengen-countries.
Woude, Maartje van der. “Leiden Law Blog.” France and the State of Emergency: Moving in the Wrong Direction - Leiden Law Blog, 2015, leidenlawblog.nl/articles/the-dutch-response-to-the-refugee-crisis.
Ministerie van Justitie en Veiligheid. “Reception of Asylum Seekers in the Netherlands.” Food | Government.nl, Ministerie Van Algemene Zaken, 4 Oct. 2016, www.government.nl/topics/asylum-policy/asylum-procedure/reception-asylumseeker.
“UNHCR Statistics.” UNHCR Population Statistics - Data - Overview, popstats.unhcr.org/en/overview.