A leading Polish MEP today (2 May) spoke out strongly against Dutch plans to expel EU citizens who make “disproportionate claims” on the social benefit system in the Netherlands, or who have committed “very serious or repeated offences”.
MEP Jacek Saryusz-Wolski, head of the Polish delegation within the centre-right European People’s Party group in the European Parliament, asked the European Commission to react to the Dutch plan, describing it as “discriminatory”.
The Hague submitted a ‘non-paper’ to its EU partners regarding proposed changes to Dutch immigration legislation that are officially aimed at “achieving a stronger, safer and more prosperous Europe”.
The non-paper remains a confidential document, but the Dutch government has published a position paper entitled ‘The Dutch standpoint on EU migration policy’, which according to sources largely “reflects the spirit of the non-paper”.
Page 7 of the position paper details the Dutch authorities’ plan to expel from the country EU citizens and their family members who make “disproportionate claims” on the social benefit system in the Netherlands, or who have committed “very serious or repeated offences”.
According to some reports, the Netherlands intends to adopt internal legislation allowing foreign workers to claim unemployment benefits only after having resided legally for five years.
Writing to the Commission under the so-called ‘urgent written question’ procedure, Saryusz-Wolski describes as “discriminatory” proposals by Dutch Minister of Social Affairs and Employment Henk Kamp to amend Directive 38/2004, which guarantees the rights of EU citizens to move and reside freely throughout on the Union’s territory.
“Among the groups of Central Eastern Europe, this would mostly concern Poles as the biggest national group from this region,” Saryusz-Wolski writes. An estimated 150,000 Polish citizens reside in the Netherlands.
The leading Polish MEP, who has strong ties to the government in Warsaw, asks whether the Dutch authorities consulted the European Commission before proposing changes to their legislation and if the new proposals are being monitored by the EU executive.
“Is the current implementation of Directive 38/2004 by the Dutch Government correct in the European Commission’s opinion?” the Polish MEP asks.
Viviane Reding, European Commission vice-president responsible for justice and fundamental rights, was quoted by the Dutch press last week as saying that the EU executive would “loudly and clearly” oppose any Dutch immigration rules that do not meet EU standards.