The Netherlands reaches asylum compromise

The Dutch coalition government has agreed to grant asylum to around 600 migrants under the age of 18 and their families. They will receive permanent residency permits even if they have no right to asylum. With this compromise solution the four coalition parties have averted a government crisis. Decisions on asylum issues often leave a bitter aftertaste, commentators write.

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NRC Handelsblad (NL) /

The cynical face of politics

These people have been pawns of politics for far too long, NRC Handelsblad writes:

“The politicians have shown themselves from their cynical side once again on this issue. First came the sudden reversal of the [Christian Democratic] CDA, which during the 2017 coalition talks didn't want to hear anything about special regulations for children and is now calling for a new assessment. Then one day later the [Christian Democratic] ChristenUnie trumped the CDA with its demand for an immediate stop to deportations. And then it was the [right liberal] VVD that clung to the coalition agreement but made it clear behind closed doors that changes to the agreement would have their price. ... To avoid awakening false hopes and expectations the parties should have exercised extreme discretion. But in recent weeks we've seen the opposite of that.”

De Standaard (BE) /

There is no patent remedy

Unfortunately there is no simple solution to difficult asylum problems, De Standaard laments:

“The problem seems simple: What harm can it do to let one innocent child who gazes hopefully into the cameras of the press stay here? How cold-hearted do you have to be to deny him the opportunities offered by a rich country? But things aren't as easy as that. ... Such questions always involve a balancing act, so it's difficult to establish universal rules. ... When push comes to shove it all depends on the wisdom, humanity and judgement of the relevant minister. That's not ideal, but perhaps there's no better alternative.”