Dutch back Marrakesh agreement, but draw up legal addendum

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The Dutch cabinet will continue to support the Marrakesh migration agreement but will come with an additional declaration to prevent unintentional legal consequences, the Volkskrant reported on Thursday.

The four coalition parties have reached agreement on principle on the additional document, known as an EOP or explanation of position, the paper said. The wording is likely to be approved at Friday’s cabinet meeting, sources told the paper.

Junior immigration minister Mark Harbers has held meetings with the coalition parties this week to finalise the text, which will be submitted at the UN meeting on the migration pact in Morocco next month.

The aim of the EOP is to reaffirm that UN pact will not lead to additional jurisprudence, thereby stopping refugees using it as an extra legal support in asylum claims.

Harbers has also pledged to provide a legal analysis of the pact to parliament next week, so it can be debated before the Marrakesh meeting.


Dutch MPs are divided on the pact which aims to regulate the treatment of migrants worldwide, and which was approved in July by all 193 member states except the United States.

The pact aims to reduce illegal migration, boost the integration of migrants and make it easier to return them to their home countries by stimulating countries to work together. The provisions are not binding and countries are free to set their own immigration policy.

In the Netherlands, the anti-immigration PVV, fundamentalist Christian SGP and right-wing populist FvD are opposed to the pact. Australia, Israel, Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic and Austria have all refused to sign the pact, saying it will weaken their own immigration controls.

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