Monday

17th Jun 2019

Dutch coalition to target burqas, Muslim immigration

  • The wearer of a face veil in public could soon be subject to fines (Photo: Shemer)

Anti-Islamic politician Geert Wilders has emerged triumphant in Dutch coalition talks, with the new government to introduce a bill on banning the Muslim face veil and to try to halve the number of "non-Western" immigrants in the country.

The Netherlands' new "Freedom and responsibility" coalition formally includes just the Liberal Party (VVD) and the the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA). But the 46-page-long coalition agreement by the minority government makes far-reaching concessions on burqas and immigration rules in order to be able to count on parliamentary support from Mr Wilders' PVV faction.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

Under the plans, immigrants already living in the Netherlands will face extra hurdles in bringing family members to the country and unskilled people will have even fewer chances of finding work and coming to settle. The coalition text also promises in writing to bring a burqa bill to parliament.

Speaking at a joint press conference with the VVD and CDA leaders on Thursday (30 September), Mr Wilders said "A new wind will blow in the Netherlands" and "We want the Islamisation to be stopped."

He also took a swipe at German Chancellor Angela Merkel who had earlier voiced "regret" at his potential role in The Hague. Speaking in broken German during the press conference, he said "Ms Merkel, you are not right," and told her to stop meddling in Dutch politics.

The four-year coalition deal could still be ditched by Christian Democrats at their party convention at the weekend.

The Wilders element is still controversial for some, even though the CDA itself supports a burqa ban. But Christian Democrat leader Maxime Verhagen on Thursday described it as a "very good governing agreement ... that every Christian Democrat will be able to identify with."

The VVD's Mark Rutte, who is likely to become prime minister next week, said his government wants "to give the country back to the working Dutch citizen."

Opposition leaders are angry at the concessions made to Mr Wilders.

"This is unmistakeably a Wilders' cabinet," said Femke Halsema, the leader of the Green party. "It is about repression and reducing ethnic minorities."

The head of the Liberal opposition party D66, Alexander Pechtold, described the "discriminatory measures" affecting immigrants as "bullying." The agreement will lead to economic stagnation, he said. "The bill is being passed on to the next generation."

France and Belgium are much further down the path to banning the full Islamic veil than the Netherlands. Only a tiny minority of Muslims in either of the three countries actually wear burqas.

EU budget cuts

While the part on immigration is the longest chapter of the coalition accord - seven out of 46 pages - the text also proposes other measures likely to unnerve Brussels.

The Dutch contribution to the EU budget is set to be slashed by €1 billion. Billions will also come out of Dutch international aid spending. The Netherlands is currently the biggest per-capita contributor to the EU budget, with some €8 billion a year, while Germany is the biggest net contributor.

Amsterdam has already made strict financial commitments to the EU up until the end of 2013 budgetary period.

But the EU is about to embark on talks for the 2014 to 2020 framework budget. EU budget commissioner Janusz Lewandovski has already hinted that "a compensation mechanism" is needed for net contributors so that no country emerges as a "big loser."

Speaking on Tuesday in Brussels, he added that it is important EU contributions rest on sufficient public support. "We are of course conscious what is the mood in Dutch politics," he said.

EU parliament backs whistleblower law

MEPs backed an EU law to protect whistleblowers from retaliation in both the public and private sectors. EU states will have two years to transpose the directive.

EU commission to map gender recognition

The European Commission will start looking at how EU states determine genders - as part of an effort to make it easier for people to determine their own identities.

EU to propose scrapping summer time change

Based on the preliminary results of an online survey in which mostly Germans took part, the EU executive is proposing that the whole EU stops changing times in March and October.

Investigation

How to get around the EU posted workers directive

Some EU careworkers in Belgium receive around €400 a month - despite their carers paying €2,500 a month and paying for flights and accommodation. The answer lies in how firms can skirt the safeguards in the EU's posted workers directive.

News in Brief

  1. EU plans to restructure eurozone bonds
  2. EU ups US imports in beef deal
  3. Unicef: UK among 'least family-friendly' in Europe
  4. Czech PM: No joint 'V4' candidate in commission race
  5. Johnson tops first round to replace May, three eliminated
  6. Bratislava will host new European Labour Authority
  7. Juncker cautions against further climate goals
  8. Study: Counterfeit medicine is a 'growing threat' in EU

Stakeholder

FIFA's schools programme aims to reach 700m children

Football clubs today invest huge sums of money in youth development and court talented young players from an early age. Children are the future – not only where football is concerned, but also for society in general.

Opinion

A fundamental contradiction in EU drug policy

The knock-on affects from a 'war on drugs' in Europe is creating problems in Albania - and as far afield as Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Bangladesh and the Philippines.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  3. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  5. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  6. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  7. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  8. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  9. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody

Latest News

  1. 'Russian sources' targeted EU elections with disinformation
  2. Top EU jobs summit dominates This WEEK
  3. EP parties planning 'coalition agenda' ahead of jobs summit
  4. MEP blasts Portugal over football whistleblower
  5. Catalonia MEPs are a judicial, not political, issue
  6. Meet the lawyer taking the EU migration policy to the ICC
  7. Europe's oil supplies 'at risk' after tanker attacks
  8. EU paths fork for Albania and North Macedonia

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  2. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  4. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan
  5. UNICEFUNICEF Hosts MEPs in Jordan Ahead of Brussels Conference on the Future of Syria
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic talks on parental leave at the UN
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsTrial of Chechen prisoner of conscience and human rights activist Oyub Titiev continues.
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic food policy inspires India to be a sustainable superpower
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID
  10. Counter BalanceEU bank urged to free itself from fossil fuels and take climate leadership
  11. Intercultural Dialogue PlatformRoundtable: Muslim Heresy and the Politics of Human Rights, Dr. Matthew J. Nelson
  12. Platform for Peace and JusticeTurkey suffering from the lack of the rule of law

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us