Tuesday, September 1, 2015 - 12:19
Ruling party call for ending Morocco treaty as talks collapse
Minister Lodewijk Asscher of Social Affairs has again not been able to reach an agreement with Morocco on adjusting the social security treaty, the treaty that regulates the payment of Dutch benefits to Dutch-Moroccans in Morocco. Ruling party VVD is now calling for the treaty to be terminated as soon as possible. Minister Asscher informed the Tweede Kamer, lower house of parliament, that negotiations have failed again in a letter on Tuesday. Asscher wants to adjust the Dutch benefits to the living standards in Morocco, which means that they would decrease. The adjustments would only apply to new cases. Asscher also stated that he remains hopeful that an agreement can be reached, as progress has been made in recent months. The VVD now wants the treaty terminated as soon as possible. "The negotiations with Morocco has been going on for four years and it is now time to pull the plug", VVD parliamentarian Anouschka Schut-Welkzijn said according to the Volkskrant. "The benefits must be reduced because life is a lot cheaper in Morocco than in the Netherlands. And a benefit is not meant to make you rich. The Kamer should now handle the law on terminating the treaty as quickly as possible." The ruling party has been pushing to scrap the treaty for some time, though Asscher is against it. Schut-Welkzijn added that the VVD is happy to have Asscher continue the negotiations in the mean time, as long as it leads to the benefits being reduced. To be able to terminate the treaty by January 1st, 2017, Morocco must be informed by July 1st next year, according to Asscher. This means that the decision to terminate must be made before February next yer. Foreign Affairs Minister Bert Koenders has told the Kamer several times that it is very important that a agreement is reached with the Moroccan government. In June he wrote that Morocco is also very keen to maintain good, four hundred year old, relations with the Netherlands. Should this treaty be terminated, it may put pressure on this relationship.