It is unclear exactly how many Ukrainians there are already in the Netherlands, because due to the association agreement with the EU, they are allowed to travel freely to the Netherlands and do not have to report to apply for asylum. State Secretary Van der Burg (Asylum) and the 25 security regions will discuss the preparations for a significant influx from the war zone on Monday. The aim is that each region will arrange 2000 places, but the question arises whether that is enough, now that the United Nations speaks of ‘the biggest refugee crisis since the Second World War’.
In the region
VVD MP Brekelmans speaks of a ‘good first step’. “But there is a good chance that more will be needed,” he adds when asked. And that need not be a problem as far as his party is concerned: “I think we should do that.”
CDA MP Kuik also believes that the Netherlands ‘must certainly pull out all the stops’: “We often talk about reception in the region and that really applies in this situation – where Europe is the region.” Numerous local branches of coalition party D66 also ask for generous reception. PvdA MP Piri calls on Van der Burg to also prepare preparations for even more drastic scenarios: “The cabinet must be prepared for the scenario in which 2000 places per security region is not enough.”
Kuik argues in favor of a ‘reception ambassador’, who will coordinate matters. Brekelmans is also in favor of more central management. Both parties also argue in favor of making room in reception by deporting applicants who have no prospects or who have exhausted all legal remedies.
Other parties are even more cautious. For example, PVV and JA21 prefer to see refugees in the neighboring countries of Ukraine. JA21 leader Eerdmans already wonders whether the first cabinet plans are feasible: “2000 per region would be a total of 50,000 Ukrainians, more than the total number of refugees we are currently receiving.” SP MP Van Dijk argues for a fair distribution across Europe: “Then the influx can remain manageable.”