European Commission must intervene to prevent transgression of rules on family reunification

15 November 2011

European Commission must intervene to prevent transgression of rules on family reunification

SP-Euro-MP Dennis de Jong is urging the European Commission to oversee compliance with EU rules on family reunification and to intervene where necessary. In a Green Paper to be published next week, the Commission will pose the question as to whether such intervention may no longer be justified now that the existing rules are to be amended. According to De Jong, “the Commission should not wait around for possible revision of the existing directive. Its job is to intervene when European rules aren’t respected. With my colleagues in the European Parliament, I’ll be holding the responsible European Commissioner to this task.”

Dennis de JongDe Jong made this statement yesterday during a meeting on family reunification at the European Parliament organised by the SP, fellow Dutch party the Green Left, and the social democratic European Parliament group, the Party of Socialists and Democrats (PSD). The meeting saw a great deal of interest in the situation in the Netherlands, and De Jong gave a detailed account of the proposals from Immigration and Asylum Minister Gerd Leers, criticising in particular the fact that under the proposals partners will only be granted an independent residence permit after five years in the country. “This will make a woman extremely dependent on her partner who was already living in the Netherlands before her. For example, women who are victims of domestic violence will no longer have any way out of their situation. They won’t report the violence or seek help because they will be afraid of losing their right to remain in the country.”

The Dutch government is currently trying to garner support amongst the member states for its proposal for a tightening up of the rules on family reunification. Chances of such support accruing are, in the SP’s view, remote. Next week the European Commission will publish its Green Paper on the issue. The current EU directive, which came into force in 2003, is based on the right to a family life guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights, with which the Dutch government’s proposals are in direct conflict.

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