This dispersal law is ‘unnecessarily complicated’

Yes, a distribution law is necessary, say all the speakers during a round table discussion about the law in the House of Representatives. But please, they all say, don’t do it in this form. The speakers have strong criticism and call the current law “unnecessarily complicated”. “And we will be dealing with that in a moment,” says an irritated Jan de Reus, VVD deputy in Flevoland who speaks on behalf of the interprovincial consultation. As a deputy he has already seen too many laws that are unenforceable. “I pass for that.”

The dispersal bill as it stands today is a hard-fought deal in the coalition. The law must prevent asylum seekers in the application center in Ter Apel from having to sleep outside again, because there are not enough reception places. Last summer, asylum seekers slept outside, sometimes in the rain.

The sensitivity of the law became apparent once again in the run-up to the roundtable discussion. Actually, the House was supposed to hold the conversation last week. That was canceled at the last minute, because the House had not yet received the underlying regulations that give practical substance to the law. According to News hour the coalition had not yet agreed on those rules. Meanwhile, the coalition is out and those rules are there.

Why treat in 2 rounds?

In the round table discussion, the most important parties who must implement the distribution law joined. According to them, what makes the draft law unnecessarily complicated is that it will be dealt with in two rounds. In the first round, municipalities can voluntarily indicate how many asylum seekers they want to receive. Municipalities can earn bonuses for this if they meet a number of requirements. If there is still a shortage of places, then all municipalities, including those that have already voluntarily offered places, must sit down with the province to allocate the remaining places.

But if you say so, why has the Secretary of State not carried it out?

Tunahan Kuzu Member of Parliament for Think

This provides a perverse incentive, according to the implementers. They are afraid that municipalities that offer places voluntarily may be obliged to arrange extra places in the second round. “This leads to freeriderbehavior,” says Amsterdam alderman Rutger Groot Wassink (GL, asylum), on behalf of the Association of Dutch Municipalities. Because it pays to wait as long as possible to add places, because you may receive an extra assignment.

The wish of the implementers: make it immediately clear how many asylum seekers must be accommodated per municipality, without adjusting it later. Let municipalities offer places voluntarily first. Isn’t this enough? Then sit around the table together.

Read also Van der Burg’s pain about the ever-worsening asylum crisis

Test for the cabinet

Municipalities and provinces have also indicated this to State Secretary Eric van der Burg (VVD, asylum), they say. Why didn’t he do anything about it, asks Think Member of Parliament Tunahan Kuzu. The executive organizations cannot say that, probably also because the deal was so hard-fought. Van der Burg has the support of the coalition parties for the current draft law. But if one component is tinkered with, that support may be nullified.

This law is therefore a test for the cabinet. Rutte IV promised to pay more attention to the enforceability of laws. How important does Van der Burg think that is? Or will political reality win out in the end? The debates on the distribution law with the State Secretary will reveal this in the coming months.