Netherlands: Cabinet Makes Deep Cuts in Integration Budget
Dutch immigrant organisations are “annoyed” because the caretaker cabinet of the Netherlands has decided to cut the budget for “integration”. In the good old days when misusing tax payers money was expected, the Dutch would actually pay for immigrants to take language and culture courses so that they could qualify for residence permits. But, now that most European countries are deep in the red (due of course to rampant immigration and welfare payments), governments have had to tighten their belts and stop wasteful spending. I wonder what Geert Wilders will do once he gets into the next government? Should be interesting to see the Muslims and third world free-loaders flee en masse back to the holes they came out of…
THE HAGUE – The caretaker cabinet is making deep cuts in the budget for integration. Immigrants will likely have to carry the costs themselves.
Sources in The Hague say the outgoing coalition of Christian democrats (CDA) and small Christian party ChristenUnie plans savings of about two-thirds of the integration budget. This would work out at some hundreds of millions of euros. Details of the plan are not known, but it is likely that new immigrants and those without a job will themselves be made responsible for insuring that they speak adequate Dutch.
Immigrant organisations have reacted with annoyance. Particularly for immigrants that have had practically no education or are illiterate, the costs will be too high, fears the Consultative Body for Turks in the Netherlands (IOT). “These people cannot pay this.”
IOT and other migrant organisations were still strongly against the language and culture courses when they were introduced a few years ago. But IOT spokesman Harm van Zuthem meanwhile considers that many “desperately needed such a course for their opportunities on the labour market or to help their children at school.”
A spokesman for the Association of Netherlands Municipalities (VNG) also called the cutbacks “a bad development”. He pointed out that central government wants to integrate tens of thousands of persons a year. “This will now of course be endangered.”
Immigrants from outside the EU who come to the Netherlands or already live there have for some years had to do an integration exam. They have three and a half years to pass it. If they do not succeed, they will not be given a residence permit for an unrestricted period and they will have to pay a fine.
The cutbacks are part of the 3.2 billion euros that has to be found to get the 2011 budget in order. This will be presented on 21 September.
Other cost cuts already became known last month when the cabinet reached an accord on the budget for next year. These are cuts of 600 million euros in personnel costs at the government, already achieved wage moderation (400 million), higher excise duties on cigarettes and shag (200 million) and reining in subsidies for companies and lower childcare bonuses.
In view of its caretaker status, the cabinet cannot present any new plans on Princes’ Day. But it does want to be able to hand over the budget in good order to the next cabinet, as a result of which gaps totalling 3.2 billion euros had to be filled, Finance Minister Jan Kees de Jager said recently. There is a strong chance that he will hold this post again in a coalition of CDA with the conservatives (VVD) and Party for Freedom (PVV).