Mayors: Government not supporting local communities in asylum crisis

More than half of Dutch mayors feel that the government is not supporting local communities in the asylum crisis, leaving municipalities to fend for themselves, according to a survey done by Binnelands Bestuur among 75 mayors.

Zeewolde Mayor Gerrit Jan Groter feels that the government simply dumps everything on the municipalities, he said to EenVandaag in response to the survey. "The government made agreements in Europe, and so the government is responsible for how many refugees enter the Netherlands. But ultimately the mayor is the one to be insulted and abused", he said. "I think the State should stand much more for us, instead of just leaving us be. I miss real commitment from the government."

Voorschoten Mayor Jeroen Staatsen said that the government does not work on getting support for the reception of asylum seekers. "I told the people in my municipality: 'these people are our guests w have to treat them with respect'. And: 'they arrived as strangers and they go as friends'. That is what I mean when I say that not much is done for support in The Hague. I enormously miss these kinds of moral statements in national politics."

Paul Mengde, Mayor of Heumen - which is accommodating some 3 thousand asylum seekers at present - said that they have not heard anything from the government, the province or State Secretary Klaas Dijkhoff of Security and Justice. "For a small town like Heumen, this is an extremely sensitive issue", he said. "If someone would send a signal of 'great that you're sticking your neck out like this', I would appreciate it enormously."