Gesthuizen urges ban on return of criminals from other EU countries to the Netherlands

29 March 2012

Gesthuizen urges ban on return of criminals from other EU countries to the Netherlands

Referring to members of roving criminal gangs who, having served their sentences, then take advantage of EU rules on free movement of persons to return to the Netherlands, SP Member of Parliament Sharon Gesthuizen said, ‘Criminals from EU member states should from now on have to serve their sentences in their own country. They should also be banned from coming back to the Netherlands.’ Gesthuizen’s statement came during Wednesday’s debate with the government in Parliament. ‘The so-called mobile gangs are a plague on Dutch businesses. Their members should have to serve their sentence in their own countries. But it makes no sense to send them packing if afterwards they can simply come back to the Netherlands and resume their old activities.’

Circulating criminal gangs are a major problem. In a letter to Parliament Minister of Justice and Security Ivo Opstelten said that the gangs for the most part consisted of eastern Europeans and that it was difficult to tackle the problem, as they work in changing patterns of cooperation and move from place to place very quickly. A new law to be debated on Thursday in Parliament will make it possible to force criminals to serve their sentences in their own countries. Gesthuizen supports this principle but argues that a ban on the return of such criminals should be added to the law. ‘Otherwise a few days after they get out they’ll be back,’ she said.

Gesthuizen believes that Opstelten should continue to stress to fellow ministers at European level that mobile banditry is a major problem which must be addressed. ‘The chances of being caught must be increased, and we need to call a halt to this mobile plunder. The damage to businesses is estimated to be €250 million a year, ‘ says Gesthuizen. ‘For criminals from other European countries, who use European Union freedom of movement rules mainly to commit crimes, restrictions on this freedom are justified. A ban on entering the territory of the Netherlands, to be imposed by the sentencing authority, is certainly in order. We must prevent wandering gangs from being able to strike again.’

You are here