Benelux nations to join forces on Eastern European migration

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The Netherlands and Flanders have announced plans for closer co-operation on issues relating to Eastern European migrants.

Representatives of nine cities, together with the Dutch ambassador to Belgium and Flemish ministers, signed an accord pledging to work together on issues such as integration.

The move is also designed to avoid situations where different policies cancel each other out, such as tougher visa controls in one area triggering a mass movement of migrants to another city across the border.

Politicians also want to lobby collectively for more EU development money to ease pressure on housing, education and social services.

However, the agreement stops short of setting common immigration targets or any moves that would violate the European principle of free movement of people within the EU.

The group hope the accord will eventually cover the rest of Belgium and Luxembourg, giving the Benelux nations a stronger voice within Europe.

The idea was first raised by local politicians in Gent and Rotterdam when they met at a congress and realized how often they were covering the same ground.

The other seven signatories to the accord include Breda and Antwerp.

Gent councillor Guy Reynebeau said: “If Gent and Rotterdam go to Europe, they’re like a mouse squeaking. A united Benelux is much stronger.”

Source: Trouw: Beneluxlanden werken samen bij problemen met migranten
Photo by Meneer de Braker

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