Budget Day 2023: investing in protecting the democratic rule of law

Organised, subversive crime is having a major impact on society. Guardians of the rule of law, such as journalists and lawyers, are being threatened by criminals. They must be free to be able to do their work. That is why the government is investing heavily in combating subversive crime. In addition, every child should be able to grow up safely. This requires well-organised youth protection services. That is why the government is making additional investments in youth protection services this year. People come to the Netherlands for work, study, love, or protection. Those are things we must organise properly in the Netherlands. That is why the government is making funds available to ensure stable reception capacity, to enhance legal migration and to stimulate the returns process.

Protecting the democratic rule of law

We must protect the functioning of our democratic rule of law and continue the detection and prosecution of criminals without any let up whatsoever. For this reason the government is structurally making 112 million euros available to improve and expand the surveillance and protection system. In order to prevent criminal organisations getting the upper hand we are collaborating with the police, the public prosecution service and the judiciary as private partners and we are implementing policy at all levels, in other words at international, national and local level. This approach is based on four objectives: 1) Prevent vulnerable young people ending up in, or slipping even further into, a life of crime, 2) Disrupt the earnings model and smash criminal networks, 3) Punish perpetrators, and 4) Protect people who, on a daily basis, work on the front line in this approach.

The digital threat posed by criminals and other countries is also as great as it has ever been and is also continuously changing. This generates risks for the general public and organisations which may lead to financial loss or damage and have a detrimental effect on the way Dutch society functions. That is why we must retain and implement the Netherlands Cybersecurity Strategy 2022-2028.

Investments in youth protection

Every child has the right to grow up at home and to develop safely. Whenever this is under threat, assistance and support must be provided to families. The court can impose a youth protection order on parents if a child aged under 18 is unable to grow up safely in a family. This year, the government is making 43 million euros available for youth protection services and, by doing so, is taking an important step towards finding a structural solution for the problems in this sector. Among other things this funding is intended to reduce the pressure of work for youth protection professionals. The focus is going to be on recruiting new child protection staff and on retaining existing ones, with the aim being to give them more time to provide more effective assistance to vulnerable children and families.

Youth protection is a joint responsibility of the state, municipalities and certified institutions. After this year, the government will structurally allocate 50 million euros to youth protection.

Improvement and enhancement of legal migration

People will continue to migrate to the Netherlands in 2024. They will do so for work, study, love, or protection. The government is making more than 4 billion euros available to manage the influx of people more effectively, accelerate their processing and help them move on more quickly. In this way we will improve and enhance legal migration by taking careful decisions on residency applications. We are also working towards achieving a stable reception capacity so that we can deal more effectively with fluctuations in the number of asylum seekers entering the country. This fixed capacity at the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (Centraal Orgaan opvang Asielzoekers, COA) is to be expanded in phases to 41,000 places. Municipalities will be given support with setting up reception centres and if people are not allowed to stay, we will encourage their return to their country of origin. The European Temporary Protection Directive for Ukrainian refugees is also expected to be extended by one year. In 2024, 3.2 billion euros has been budgeted for municipal and private accommodation for refugees from Ukraine.