The timing of the new migration policy brief may be exemplaric in the way it is dealt with by Dutch civll society. A cabinet that manages to bring together five reponsible Ministers and their respective departments, arriving at six pillars for a new integrated policy on migration within four months after installation. I would say, that is rather impressive and shows the urgency this cabinet has in addressing unsafe migration that cost so many lives in recent years. The six pillars are:
Rather than repeating their critique I would like to express my gratitude to this cabinet to give this policy area such a high priority while acknowledging the complexity of it. The five departments that were involved generated a shared agenda that signifies the various interests that are at play and the fact that the Netherlands is part of the European Union, enabling them to work together with their European counterparts in a cohesive and predictable manner, not offering each other any surprises.
The real proof of the pudding will be in the eating. As no budget allocations are made yet to show from where this agenda is financed leaves much leverage for humanitarian and development agencies to influence the budget discussions positively. In the old days, the implementation of this agenda would have been easily charged to the development budget (ODA), whereas the agenda is predominantly a protection and security agenda, to which the Dutch have an international obligation to contribute as well as a domestic obligation in terms of providing security to its citizens. Hence, it is clear that budget allocations to other Ministries will also need to cater for this agenda.
Hence, let us allow the many civil servants who have spent much extra time to put this ambitious plan together some time to rest and be relieved of the stress of having to deliver on this important promise in the coalition agreement. Giving them some peace and quiet on this Silent Saturday may help them contemplate what foreigners could actually bring to the further welfare of our society and to the world's peace and security. Just like that 'foreigner' who some two-thousand years ago intruded his self-created earthly space with a message of peace and reconciliation... only to be crucified and burried by the people he tried to identify with.
Nevertheless, as the story goes that Jesus' very death and resurrection sparked the most successful global movement that challenged the religious clergy and political power houses of his time, exposing their hunger for power, spreading a message of love instead and bringing good news to the poor and oppressed. I gather we could extend the same message to migrants who may have similar stories to share that could help us overcome anxiety and redefine our humanity.
My name is Reinier van Hoffen.
Click here for a summary.
Also find the text of a lecture Dr. Achterhuis held at the 2012 Bilderberg conference.