Screening within the Benelux to be reinforced

The Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg have concluded more stringent agreements on exchanging judicial data. These agreements will better protect vulnerable sectors against repeat offenders. This will have consequences for Belgium and Luxembourg nationals resident in the Netherlands who request a certificate of good conduct (verklaring omtrent het gedrag, VOG). Hundreds of such requests are made each year. Currently, judicial information is only exchanged when such certificates are requested for working with children. This process will now be expanded to other sectors. Today, Minister for Legal Protection Sander Dekker signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to this effect with his counterparts from Belgium and Luxembourg.

'It is critically important for countries to exchange judicial information for the purpose of better protecting vulnerable sectors, including health care, education and civil aviation. We need to prevent a person who has been convicted of violent, fraudulent or terrorist crimes in the Netherlands from still being able to find work in Luxembourg or Belgium within the same sector.'

Dekker explained.

The MoU highlights the need not only for a reinforcement of agreements within the Benelux, but also for a better application of existing European agreements based on the Directive on combating the sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children and child pornography. At the moment, the Netherlands is already putting this European Directive to active use, in that it always requests information from EU Member States if any European national requests a certificate of good conduct for working with children in the Netherlands. Reinforcing the agreements with Belgium and Luxembourg will emphasise the importance of proper screening. The Netherlands will also strive for the further roll-out of the Benelux agreements to other EU Member States.