Asylum center will open in Tubbergen, State Sec. says after "emotional" meeting
State Secretary Eric van der Burg (Asylum) is sticking to his decision to open an asylum seekers center in Albergen. He has “explicitly indicated” that the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA) has bought the hotel in Albergen to accommodate asylum seekers, and “that will happen.” “I will discuss how we’re doing that with the municipal council,” the State Secretary said after an emotional council meeting about the asylum center.
Van der Burg said in advance that he would not make any promises but would listen to locals and the municipal authorities and answer questions. “If you make a shitty decision for people, you also have to have the balls to come and explain it in person,” said Van der Burg. The message from the council and speakers was unanimous, the State Seceratry noted afterward: “This is not how they want it.”
The State Secretary repeated that he hopes he doesn’t have to force a municipality to take in asylum seekers a second time. “I hope that I can say with municipalities voluntarily: ‘we are doing a few hundred places there and a few hundred places there,’ also depending on the size of the municipality.”
Mayor Wilmien Havekramp of Tubbergen, which covers Albergen, described the council meeting as an evening with “a lot of emotion and many questions.” The meeting generally went smoothly, with occasional jeers at the State Secretary, expressions of dissatisfaction with the state of affairs, and applause for the speakers from the public gallery. On a few occasions, the mayor had to admonish those present to remain calm.
The 19 municipal councilors said they regret that Tubbergen has come to be known as a municipality that does not want to take in asylum seekers. The Tubbergen council stands for humane asylum reception, said CDA faction chairman Christel Luttikhuis on behalf of the council. The council filed a motion calling on the State Secretary, the COA, and the Tubbergen mayor and aldermen to meet and discuss the reception of asylum seekers in a “careful manner.” The meeting must happen within five working days.
Van der Burg still found it justified to use this “very heavy means” - giving the COA permission to use the hotel as an asylum center, thereby bypassing the municipality. The asylum crisis is too great not to use this instrument if municipalities refuse to voluntarily cooperate in opening shelters, the State Secretary emphasized.
The council raised doubts about the legal viability of this form of coercion. But the State Secretary would not budge. “I take you dead seriously, but I won’t do everything you want,” he said.
The newest asylum crisis has the coalition of VVD, D66, CDA, and CU hopelessly divided, sources told De Telegraaf.
According to the newspaper’s sources, the VVD wants stricter measures to limit the number of family members who can join a refugee and get asylum seekers from safe countries out of the Netherlands as soon as possible. The other three parties want the VVD to rather support a bill for forcing municipalities to open reception places.