Asylum seekers can still call Amsterdam home, city's mayor pledges

Amsterdam regrets that no agreement was reached between the government and municipalities regarding the shelter of failed asylum seekers, but the city does not see this as a reason to stop offering them shelter, a spokesperson for mayor Eberhard van der Laan said to Het Parool.

"Amsterdam continues the current shelter and will soon discuss the funding in the college (of mayor and aldermen, ed) and city council", the spokesperson said to the newspaper. "An important point for all municipalities has always been that, from the perspective of humanity, a form of basic care is a necessity as long as there is no conclusive asylum policy."

State Secretary Klaas Dijkhoff of Security and Justice announced on Monday that the negotiations on the so-called bed, bath and bread regulation for failed asylum seekers and other undocumented migrants was a failure. He also said that he will no longer compensate municipalities for giving shelter to undocumented migrants, because he believes that municipalities must not undermine national policy. He will take steps to close the 17 reception centers for failed asylum seekers, two of which are located in Amsterdam. 

Other municipalities also regret this outcome. "It is crucial that the government and municipalities are in liine with this and other important topics in the area of migration and asylum", Utrecht alderman Kees Diepeveen said to the newspaper. "The question remains. We can not close our eyes to that."

Groningen alderman Ton Schroor called the fact that the talks were called off "very regrettable and incomprehensible". "As joint municipalities we thought that that an agreement was within reach, but now the door was slammed by the State Secretary. We can't cope with a paper reality, we need a solution that works in practice."