Monday, December 29, 2008

Understanding free movement

Martijn Koolhoven, a dutch journalist for "de telegraaf" wants the readers of this dutch newspaper to believe that partners of dutch who have lived in another EU-country are using a loophole in the EU laws concerning free movement to avoid being subject to the harsh immigration laws for regular dutch citizens.

This could have been a possibility if we hadn't seen a regular flow of jurisprudence from the European court in Luxembourg that goes against this view. This court has consistently affirmed that free movement is one of the main objectives of the treaty. The consequence thereof is that a dutch citizen who has lived in another member state of the EU should be treated in the Netherlands on his return exactedly the same as if he had moved to any other member state within the EU.

Memberstates are very slow in applying this rule to the spirit because anti-immigrant parties have won elections in several member states, like in the Netherlands. But anyone who has read the judgments of the court knows that there is only one correct interpretation of the treaty. And that interpretation is clear and simple:

Anyone who has ever made use of his right to free movement within the EU should be treated on his return to the Netherlands from another memberstate as if he had moved to any other EU state. This means the dutch immigration laws don't apply to his partner.

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