Dutch King: "Fair asylum policy" needed to combat human trafficking
Prinsjesdag 2015 kicked off in the Netherlands on Tuesday with the Golden Carriage taking off from Palace Noordeinde at 1:00 p.m., bringing the Royal couple to the Ridderzaal so that King Willem-Alexander can give his third budget day throne speech. The increasing tensions on the borders of Europe and its impact on the continent and the Netherlands formed an important part of the King's speech. He emphasized the need of a "fair asylum policy" to combat human trafficking.
"The threat of a terrorist attack is not an isolated problem but a direct result of the rise of jihadist movements in Syria, Iraq and other countries in the Middle East and North Africa", King Willem-Alexander said. The influx in refugees entering Europe does not allow a complacent attitude, the King said according to the Volkskrant. He sees a great need for a comprehensive approach consisting of, among other things, international conflict control, shelter of refugees in own region and the prevention of human trafficking.
The King also drew attention to trouble spots on the European borders - the Russian annexation of the Crimea, conflict in eastern Ukraine, conflicts in Mali, Yemen and Afghanistan. "All these developments directly and indirectly affect our security and freedom." He announced on behalf of the government that more money is structurally being made available to the security services to arm the Netherlands against "the threat of radicalization and terrorist attacks in Europe" that put the society under pressure.
Willem Alexander also summarized the economic situation of the Netherlands. "During the crisis of recent years, we have again seen the strength of the Dutch, and with results. The economy is growing again. The Netherlands is doing relatively well socio-economically." He continued by warning that this is no reason to relax, pointing to the still high unemployment rate and the fact that all Dutch residents aren't yet benefiting from the economic improvement.
To stimulate employment, the cabinet is implementing tax cuts on labor costs next year. "This makes purchasing power improvement possible for all workers. For pensioners and people on benefits, the purchasing power will stay up to standard." The cabinet also has some presents in store for young parents. "Young parents are getting more space to combine work and family. The childcare allowance is increasing. There will be extra places for toddler care. Paternity leave is extended." Adjustments will be made to the healthcare personal budget and 210 million euros has been made available to improve care in nursing homes. The cabinet will also present a plan for a new pension system later this year.
Abroad the Netherlands is choosing to cooperate with allies in the EU and NATO context. The government is setting more money aside for the armed forces from next year - 220 million next year, and 345 million in subsequent years. Security and integration will be the themes for the Netherlands spell as president of the European Union in the first half of next year.
The King emphasized that all these measures are contributing to further economic recovery, but pointed out that society also has an intellectual side. "People are concerned about the brutalizing of society. In the Netherlands, tolerance and plenty of space for the individual have traditionally gone along with a highly developed solidarity and mutual involvement. It is the normal and respectful relations with each other that are asking fro awareness and an active attitude from all of us." He added that the government should lead by example, but that citizens also have responsibility.
"The coming period stands for the government for contributing to international stability and working to further economic recovery, on employment growth and the proper implementation of reforms. So the Netherlands continues as a country that offers everyone opportunities and confidence in the future."