Committee hints at border controls and visa requirements: French want to dump Treaty of Concordia

POSTED: 10/28/14 9:38 PM

St. Maarten – French politicians are contemplating canceling the Treaty of Concordia, closing the border between French and Dutch St. Maarten and introducing visa requirements if the Netherlands does not take measures to stop the economic bleeding from the French to the Dutch side.

The NOS reports on its website that according to René Dosière, chairman of a French parliamentary committee, the Dutch government is indifferent to the situation. “If nothing happens, France cannot do anything else than canceling the Treaty of Concordia. If need be there will be real borders in St. Maarten with controls and visas.”

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Netherlands has not reacted yet to Dosière’s position.

According to French politicians, the French part of the island is getting poorer, while the Dutch side is getting richer. “This cannot continue. We have to do something.”

The parliamentary committee under the 73-year-old chairman Dosière is of the opinion that the Dutch part in the south is enriching itself at the expense of their French brethren in the north. “The Dutch and the French part are two totally different economies without a border or customs,” the NOS quotes Dosière, who represents the department of Aisne (Picardy, northern France) in the French parliament, as saying.

The French part of the island is part of the European Union – the Dutch part is not. “In Dutch St. Maarten the rules are more relaxed, salaries and taxes are lower and products are cheaper,” Dosière says, adding that the French part is using the euro, the Dutch part the American dollar.

French civil servants exchange their euro-salaries immediately against favorable rates for dollars. According to Dosière thousands of French-side residents do this every month. “This way they win 30 percent of purchasing power.”

The French parliamentarian furthermore charges that the French are spending their money on the Dutch side, “because everything is much cheaper there.” An increasing number of French entrepreneurs move to the Dutch side to make their money.

Dosiere’s parliamentary committee has now concluded that money from the French treasury ends up in the Dutch part of the island. “France is subsidizing the development of Dutch St. Maarten.”

Another problem is that the situation burdens the French part against its will with migrants. “The migrants gain entry via the Dutch side because there are hardly any controls there,” Dosière says. “The Dutch officers know that the migrants travel to the French part because it is easier for them to get education there, as well as health care and social benefits.”

The French Kingdom and the Dutch Republic signed the Treaty of Concordia on March 23, 1648, atop Mount Concordia. It is basically a partition treaty that resolves that the peoples of both sides of the island shall coexist in a cooperative manner. In spite of this, it took another 69 years before the two countries established the definite borders between the two territories in 1817.

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