Dutch, Belgians pledge action on foreign partner loophole

Wedding ringsThe Netherlands and Belgium are to work together to close what is known as the ‘Europe route’ used by people who want to bring foreign partners into the country, according to a government statement.

The statement said Dutch junior justice minister Fred Teeven and his Belgian colleague Theo Francken have signed a ‘declaration of intent’ to cooperate more closely on immigration and asylum matters.

In particular, they will ‘raise the issue of the abuse of the so-called ‘Europe route’ with the European Commission’, the statement said. The short-cut allows people who don’t meet the strict rules on family reunions to qualify by living with their partner in Belgium for a few months.

Once they have lived in another European state for six months, their partner is entitled to the right of free movement.

To move directly to the Netherlands, foreign partners have to be at least 21 and their Dutch partner needs to earn at least €1,620 a month.

‘I feel the Europe route is an undesirable and unintended outcome of the directive,’ Teeven said. He believes partners should only be able to come to the Netherlands without meeting age and income requirements after spending two years in another EU country.

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