Saturday, December 19, 2009

Nebahat Albayrak: "Dutch policy is effectively impeding free movement"

Nebahat Albayrak, deputy minister of immigration in the Dutch Balkenende IV government has released a statement yesterday that cynically states that Government Policy against "misuse of free movement for family reunification" is a success.

It is clear from the statement that the Dutch Government considers very quickly that a Dutch citizen is misusing his or her right in order to circumvent the harsh Dutch immigration policies against family reunification. This interpretation of "misuse" runs against a long history of European jurisprudence concerning the stimulation of free movement. From this jurisprudence it is clear that the court very quickly assumes that a relationship with European free movement is established when a European citizen has left his country to reside in another member state. Let me just give a quote of EU ruling in the 1992 Surinder Singh case:

"A national of a Member State might be deterred from leaving his country of origin in order to pursue an activity as an employed or self-employed person as envisaged by the Treaty in the territory of another Member State if, on returning to the Member State of which he is a national in order to pursue an activity there as an employed or self-employed person, the conditions of his entry and residence were not at least equivalent to those which he would enjoy under the Treaty or secondary law in the territory of another Member State."
This ruling and it's implications have been upheld in all EU rulings since 1992, including the Akrich case concerning a former illegal alien in the UK who returned to the UK after having lived in Northern Ireland (with his UK wife).

Since Jan Peter Balkenende has come to power however he has consistently tried to influence the European politics on this issue(and EU Court in Luxemburg through the Dutch Advocat General Geelhoed). However subsequent rulings of the EU court in Luxemburg have all been against Dutch and Danish government interpretation of EU law and jurisprudence concering family reunification and free movement.

It's crystal clear from the statement that the Dutch government has not learned from i'ts previous lost cases and is in clear violation of EU law and jurisprudence. The Dutch policy sets up illegal stumbling stones and roadblocks for European citizens to freely enjoy their fundamental rights (article 8 European Treaty of Liberties and Fundamental Rights). In the light of jurisprudence this also means a significant impedement of free movement as an important tool for achieving European integration.

In fact the Dutch immigration paradox can be characterized as xenophobic, anti-islamic and nationalist sentiments in politics and media having consistently translated into harsher measures for family reunification for family of Dutch citizens. While European citizens living in the Netherlands are protected by EU directives, the Dutch Government has consistently misused it's right to discriminate against it's own citizens and has quite boldly chosen to misuse it's disgression and work hard to turn it's own citizens into second or even third class citizens.

Allthough prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende claims to stand on the shoulders of the famous prime minister Abraham Kuyper, this great Dutchman would probably turn around in his tomb. Abraham Kuyper has been justly called the bellringer of the "kleyne luyden" (poor and badly organized reformed christians who throughout the 19th century were not represented in Dutch politics and thus denied their full rights as citizens). Kuyper's project led them to the center of power. I don't see how Balkenende can reconcile his current policy of turning Dutch citizens into third class citizens with the founding principles that can be deducted from Abraham Kuyper's succesfull (antirevolutionary) struggle.

The European court in Luxembourg, in the light of consistent EU rulings, is slowly but surely limiting the Dutch political space on this fundamental subject. In the meantime the trapped cat is still hitting and scratching wildly around. Not a pretty sight.

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