VVD May Reconsider Making Illegal Residence a Crime
THE HAGUE, 09/05/13 - Just as Labour (PvdA) appears to have decided to accept that it will become a punishable offence to be illegally resident in the Netherlands, its conservative (VVD) coalition partner has offered the possibility of renegotiation on this matter.
Making illegality a punishable offence is discussible, said VVD sources Wednesday. “This question is not worth a cabinet crisis to us.” Should PvdA leader Diederik Samsom want this, “it will then be possible to discuss it.”
Under the coalition accord, VVD and PvdA agreed that illegal residence would become a crime. A PvdA members’ congress last month supported a motion against this plan with a large majority. But Samsom said he would stick to the measure.
On Tuesday evening, Samsom repeated his argument that he has simply given his signature to the VVD and is a man of his word. Nonetheless, the coalition partner has now come up with a helping hand. Why this has happened is fuel for speculation.
Weblog Geenstijl.nl suggested that by this move, the VVD wants to avoid its Finance State Secretary Frans Weekers having to resign. He is under fire due to a substantial fraud with subsidies by Bulgarian gangs, about which he says he knew nothing - but this is doubted by many.
According to a VVD source, Samsom has not so far asked to discuss the illegal residence question with his coalition partner. Formally, this has so far been passed off by the VVD as an internal PvdA matter.
The source says that the VVD understands that the criminality of illegality is a very sensitive question for the PvdA. “If Samsom wants to talk, we will not say no to this. If we talk, we will have to see where we come out.”
At a party event in Eindhoven on Tuesday evening, Samsom was still defending the agreement from the coalition accord. The PvdA leader explained to the 100-odd members present that it is difficult from the point of view of his political trustworthiness to negotiate again with the VVD. “And the last thing that this country can use is a collapsing government or a coalition crisis.”