Thursday, October 9, 2014 - 16:08
Cabinet could scrap Morocco benefits deal
After more than a year of difficult and futile negotiations with the Moroccan government, the Netherlands is taking the ultimate step - scrapping the benefits treaty with Morocco. This proposal by Minister of Social Affairs Lodewijk Asscher is on the agenda for the council of ministers on Friday. It is about the treaty in which the export of child support, the child related budget and survivors benefits are regulated. The discussion about the adjustment has come to an dead end. For new cases the Netherlands will reduce the payout to the Moroccan purchasing power. Shortly before summer the government announced that they are in complex negotiations in which not even a start to an agreement seems possible. Asscher would continue to speak with the Moroccans until late September to early October and then make a decision. In a letter to the Second Chamber Asscher wrote that he believes it will be unwise to cancel the treaty. He has now changed his mind. Asscher still warned of the risks. He fears that fighting fraud with social benefits will be more difficult. Currently the Moroccans are still cooperating to check whether benefit claimants have equity there. If control becomes impossible, Asscher expects that fraud will increase. Asscher still has to convince several colleagues in the Cabinet. Minister Frans Timmermans of Foreign Affairs expects damage to diplomatic relations with Morocco. Minister Henk Kamp of Economic Affairs worries about economic damage. Morocco is an important parter for the Ntherlands in several economic areas.