The Dutch government has accused Italy and Greece of allowing two-thirds of migrants arriving on their shores to slip into the Europe by failing to register them properly as the EU rift over the migrant crisis deepens.
Dutch migration minister, Mark Harbers, made his remarks as he sought to underline serious shortcomings which he said were undermining the EU’s border-free Schengen travel zone.
In a letter sent to the European Commission, Mr Harbers challenged assurances offered by the EU’s governing body which stated that “the registration and fingerprinting of migrants arriving in Greece and Italy has reached a rate of almost 100 percent”.
Mr Harbers said: “95 percent of irregular migrants and asylum seekers arrive from other Schengen states.
“Only one-third have been registered previously. This means about two thirds still manage to enter and travel through other member states undetected and unregistered, despite all measures taken to improve registration.”
Because other countries had failed to register migrants making claims for refugee status, EU asylum rules meant the Netherlands was therefore not permitted to return them to the country through which they first arrived in the continent.
Mr Harbers said: “The Netherlands ends up granting protection to large numbers of asylum seekers who consciously refuse to apply for protection in the member state of first arrival.
“Giving asylum seekers this de facto choice of which member state they want to settle in is in itself a pull factor.”
Mr Harbers also took a swipe at other countries, including Hungary and Poland, which he said were failing to abide by EU migrant quotas which have been set in an effort to spread the burden.
Arguing that such countries should be suffer funding cuts as result, he said: “Free-riding should have a price. Member states refusing to demonstrate solidarity, in violation of their EU obligations, should be penalised through cuts in EU subsidies.” ( full story express)