Municipalities forced by the government to set up emergency shelter for asylum seekers respond unpleasantly surprised to the news that there appears to be no legal basis to enforce that shelter. Yesterday, then outgoing Secretary of State Broekers-Knol of Justice and Security wrote to the House of Representatives that it is now a “urgent administrative request”.
In December, Enschede, Gorinchem, Venray and the Rotterdam region of the Empire were told that they had to provide emergency shelter for asylum seekers. Broekers-Knol then used the term ‘designation‘ for this, creating the impression that the national government has a legal authority to force municipalities to shelter. Experts and municipalities had immediate doubts about this.
Albrandswaard suspends cooperation
So these doubts are now justified. For the municipality of Albrandswaard, near Rotterdam, it is reason to suspend cooperation in the acute emergency shelter. A maximum of 40 asylum seekers would be taken care of in the municipality, but this will not happen for the time being now that it appears that there is no indication, but of a request.
Chairman Aboutaleb of the Rotterdam-Rijnmond security region finds the confession amazing and calls the course of events bad for the administrative relations. “I read that lawyers dispute the legal basis of the designation. So it turns out to be true. In the phone conversation with me, the Secretary of State gave the impression that she is giving a legal clue and not in an administrative sense.”
In Gorinchem, more than 200 asylum seekers are now taken care of in a former office building. Mayor Melissant believes that “a recalibration of the moral compass at the top level” is necessary, now it appears that the Empire has falsely invoked itself on legal grounds.
“We already knew that the legal substantiation of the designation decision was rickety,” she says. “We have consciously chosen to provide displaced persons in our city a safe place. The social urgency was high.”
Venray: situation has now changed
Mayor Kompier van Venray, the Limburg municipality that has to accommodate 500 asylum seekers from the Rijk, is surprised by Broekers-Knol‘s statement. “We always acted on the urgency of the designation and the acute issue to help people in need. We couldn’t help but trust that the designation decision was taken on proper grounds, as we also reported to the ministry before.”
According to her, the situation is changing now that the clue is not legally in the hook. The municipality wants to talk to the cabinet about the situation that has arisen. No people are being taken care of in Venray yet.
Ultimate pressure agent
Also in Enschede, where more than 100 people are being taken care of at Twenthe Airport, previously criticized the direction of Broekers-Knol. The municipality sees this compulsion as “ultimate administrative pressure”. Mayor Bovens informed the then Secretary of State that an appointment will not contribute to good administrative relations.
The municipality wants to talk to the other municipalities and the Association of Dutch Municipalities to come up with a more structural solution for the reception of refugees.
MPs Van Dijk (SP) and Omtzigt have asked questions to the new cabinet about the issue. Among other things, they wonder whether fellow governments can still rely on the Empire from now on.
They also want to know more about a passage from the coalition agreement. It states the phrase: “When the public interest necessitates this, the cabinet, taking into account local autonomy and appropriate safeguards, will make use of the possibility of giving an indication to the fellow authorities”.