Sint Maarten was divided in two parts in 1648 known as the Treaty of Concordia. There is free movement of people and goods. And that is what is breaking the French now. “All the money that France puts into the French part of the island, ends up in the southern part, the Dutch kingdom,” explains Dosière .
The French part is part of the EU; the Dutch part of the island is not. “In the Sint Maarten the rules are more flexible, wages and taxes are lower and consumer products are cheaper. ” On the French part of the island the euro is used and the Dutch side is mainly in dollars.
French officials exchange their salary which is paid in euros immediately to favorable exchange rates in the south. According to Dosière thousands of French do that every month. Thus they win 30 percent of their purchasing power.
They give out their moneys on the Dutch part of the island, because everything is much cheaper there. More and more French entrepreneurs leave and establish their busineses on the Dutch part to earn money.
So the money from the French state goes to the Dutch side, the parliamentary committee concludes. France subsidizes the development of the Netherlands in St. Maarten.
Another problem is that the French part is unwillingly saddled with migrants. “The immigrant’s enter through the Dutch side because there is little monitoring,” says Dosière. ” The Dutch agents know that the immigrant’s still travel to the French side, because they can get free education, health and social benefits. ”
According to Dosière the Dutch Government shrugs its shoulders and is uncooperative to change. ” If nothing happens, France can do nothing but denounce the “Treaty of Concordia”. If necessary get border controls on St Maarten and implement visa requirements. ”