Monday, April 18, 2016 - 08:44
Top Dutch cities: hundreds of millions needed to house refugees
Dutch municipalities need hundreds of millions of euros more than the Government is offering them to house and successfully integrate refugees in their cities, according to the four large Dutch cities. In an open letter in the Volkskrant, the Finance and Social Affairs aldermen of Amsterdam, Utrecht, Rotterdam and The Hague write that the government needs to provide enough money to arrange for the healthcare, counseling, education and guidance to work for the refugees. If the government can't do so, the four large cities may need to reconsider taking in the 7.781 refugees with a residency permit the government wants them to house this year. "We can not cooperate in taking in new citizens if there are no handholds to give these people a fair chance at independence and participation in their new hometown", the aldermen write. "It is after all irresponsible to house people in a city without being able to help them learn the language and find work, without being able to provide appropriate education to their children and without the proper care." "If we want these people, coming from war zones and with a sharp language deficiency, to quickly integrate into our society, it calls for extra effort and additional investments from the government. If that is not given, we are certain that we prepare these people for a life outside our society, a high risk of long-term benefit deficiency. That responsibility we will not and can not take." The letter, directed at Ministers Jeroen Dijsselbloem of Finance and Ronald Plasterk of Home Affairs, is signed by Amsterdam aldermen Arjan Vliegenhart and Udo Kock, Rotterdam aldermen Maarten Struijvenberg and Adriaan Visser, Hague aldermen Rabin Baldewsingh and Tom de Bruijn and Utrecht aldermen Victor Everhardt and Jeroen Kreijkamp.