On Tuesday the Dutch Senate voted in a legislative amendment which states that all immigrants to the Netherlands must sign a pledge to uphold and support Dutch values as part of their integration exam. This amendment to the Integration Law will take effect on October 1st, the Ministry of Social Affairs announced.
VVD leader and current Prime Minister Mark Rutte does not see a breakthrough happening in the government formation talks any time soon. In fact, he worries that new elections may be necessary, he said in a live session the VVD hosted on Facebook on Wednesday afternoon, NU.nl reports.
GroenLinks leader Jesse Klaver had to defend himself from all sides in a parliamentary debate about the stalled government formation talks between his party and the VVD, CDA and D66. "We will not send anyone back to countries where it is unsafe", Klaver said in the Tweede Kamer. But the other party leaders did not seem to be buying it, NU.nl reports.
VVD leader and current prime minister Mark Rutte is open to restarting government formation talks with the 'engine' of VVD, CDA, D66 and GroenLinks, but only if green leader Jesse Klaver is willing to come to the table without setting any conditions in advance. Klaver sees no point in continuing the negotiations if the VVD and CDA are not willing to compromise on the immigration and asylum seekers policy, NU.nl reports.
The Dutch diplomatic network is in a "worrying state" and "urgently" needs to be strenghtened to avoid a diplomatic crisis, the advice council for international issues AIV said in a report on Wednesday. The new government will have to invest an extra 70 to 80 million euros annually into the Foreign Affairs Ministry, the report states according to ANP.
King Willem-Alexander is proud of the way in which the Netherlands sheltered 65 thousand asylum seekers that flooded into the country since 2015, he said in an interview with Italian newspaper La Republica. He is proud to say that not one asylum seeker had to sleep on the street, the Telegraaf reports.
The Dutch King called the Netherlands a school example of a multicultural society, and Amsterdam the capital of tolerance. He added that the Netherlands has been sheltering people from all over the world for centuries.
On Thursday evening Edith Schippers announced that government formation talks between the VVD, CDA, D66 and GroenLinks collapsed. The parties could not agree on a migration policy, and there were problems agreeing to issues concerning climate change, sustainability and income equality.
A commemoration for asylum seekers who died in the crossing to Europe arranged for Amsterdam on Thursday evening, at the same time as the national commemoration for WWII victims for Remembrance Day, has been canceled, the initiators announced in an open letter. "Because it was never our intention to commemorate refugees from angry words, we decided to stop our initiative", Matthijs Jaspers said, Het Parool reports.
Amsterdam pastor Rikko Voorberg wants to commemorate killed asylum seekers with 3 thousand white paper crosses on the Rembrandt square in Amsterdam on Remembrance Day. His plan was met by resistance from Jewish organization CIDI and the National Committee for 4 and 5 May, who want to keep the focus of Remembrance Day on victims of World War II, AD reports.
The Netherlands should immediately stop deporting asylum seeker families with young children to Afghanistan, according to UNICEF and Defense for Children in their annual report. According to the organizations, Afghanistan is becoming more dangerous by the day and the Netherlands is taking unacceptable risks by sending children back there, AD reports.
The Judiciary in Italy is investigating two ships that sail under the Dutch flag for possible involvement in a human trafficking ring believed to consist of aid organizations and smugglers in Libya, the Telegraaf reported on Tuesday. The Italian authorities believe that some aid organizations have arrangements with criminal gangs that send asylum seekers from Africa onto the Mediterranean on rickety boats, according to the newspaper.
The asylum centers in the Netherlands are increasingly empty, the central agency for the reception of asylum seekers COA said on Thursday. The COA is currently housing some 24 thousand people, while there is place for a total of 45 thousand people, AD reports.
The city of Groningen is putting down a new building to offer so-called 'bed, bath and bread' shelter for failed asylum seekers. Security and Justice State Secretary Klaas Dijkhoff (VVD) wants to ban municipalities from housing failed asylum seekers and undocumented migrants, but talks on what to do about shelter for people who can not be deported stalled last year, NOS reports.
There is a lively trade in stolen goods at the asylum center in Delfzijl, Dagblad van het Noorden reports based on its own research. Both the police and central agency for asylum reception in the Netherlands COA say there is no evidence of this.
According to th newspaper, asylum seekers from safe countries such as Morocco and Algeria often go out to commit robbery and then sell what they stole. The paper writes that it bought sports shoes for about 15 euros, an iPhone 6s for 60 euros and a bottle of Black Label Whiskey for 5 euros.
Last year the Dutch immigration and naturalization service IND performed 170 investigations into asylum seekers suspected of committing war crimes. In 20 cases the investigation led to the refusal of refugee status and a residency permit, according to figures the Ministry of Security and Justice sent to parliament on Thursday, AD reports.
Some cases are currently being investigated by the Public Prosecutor's International Crimes Team. These suspects may end up being prosecuted in the Netherlands.
The number of welfare recipients in the Netherlands increased by 4 percent last year, according to figures Statistics Netherlands released on Tuesday. At the end of December 2016 the Netherlands counted a total of 467 thousand welfare recipients, 18 thousand more than December 2015.
The growth can mainly be attributed to non-Western immigrants, particularly asylum seekers who were given refugee status in the Netherlands last year. After being given a residency permits, refugees can apply for welfare.
Dutch norms and values and immigration and asylum are the biggest concerns among Dutch voters at the moment, according to a study done by research agency Ipsos on behalf of Dutch broadcaster NOS. Ipsos surveyed a total of 1,103 Dutch voters that form a good representation of the Dutch population, NOS reports.
Refugee and asylum children in the Netherlands do not have the same educational opportunities as children born in the Netherlands, the Education Council wrote in advice presented to parliament on Thursday. "Children's right to education should be leading int he asylum procedure", said Henriette Maassen van den Brink, chairwoman of the council, Trouw reports.
In its annual report Amnesty International is sounding the alarm about the rise of populism across the world and the implications it has for human rights. According to the human rights organization, the situation deteriorated significantly over 2016, and that can be attributed political forces rebelling against the established order. Also in the Netherlands populism is a rising problem, the organization said in a brief press conference about the report, NOS reports.
Even though Dutch people like to grumble when things do not go their way, the population is generally pretty satisfied about the country, according to a study I&O Research did on behalf of newspaper AD. The survey among more than 6 thousand Dutch found that while there are concerns about contradictions in society, most are positive about the Netherlands' future, AD reports.
The VVD wants more stringent integration requirements in the Netherlands including a total ban on face covering clothing, like burkas and balaclavas, in public. Wearing face covering clothing makes it more difficult for you to openly meet and greet each other, VVD parliamentarian Malik Azmani emphasizes in a broad integration agenda the ruling party is presenting on Thursday, Het Parool reports.
At least 100 Turkish soldiers applied for asylum in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany since an attempted coup in Turkey last year, NOS and NRC reports. According to the Dutch news agencies, these are all soldiers who worked for NATO and were not in Turkey at the time of the failed military coup.