The call from a senior Dutch government minister to import and employ young people from problem neighborhoods in France and Spain has been ridiculed as “crazy” and “dangerous” by the country’s national-conservative opposition.
Karien van Gennip, the Dutch social affairs and employment minister in Mark Rutte’s government, made the remarks during an interview with the Algemeen Dagblad newspaper in which she floated the idea of greater immigration for underprivileged French and Spanish youngsters, mainly from multicultural neighborhoods. Her remarks came alongside her admission that she feels responsible for the 1 million Dutch people who are either currently unemployed or would like to work more hours.
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According to van Gennip, offering employment to youth from the French suburbs, which are notorious for their high crime rates, would help them “get on the right track.”
People who come here to work deserve the same treatment as the Dutch,” van Gennip told the newspaper. “It’s people like you and me,” she added.
The government minister proposed that troubled youths wanting to better themselves could work in hospitality and horticulture across the Netherlands, including in the country’s many industrial greenhouses and on Dutch farms.
Conservative parties including the PVV, FvD, JA21 and BVNL have all publicly criticized the remarks, with PVV leader Geert Wilders calling the suggestion “crazy.”
“One day the farmers have to be destroyed, the next day mega asylum seeker centers are being built, and today we are going to bring French unemployed from the dangerous banlieues here,” Wilders tweeted on Tuesday.
“That’s what the cabinet wants: the Dutch farmers out and the Algerians and Moroccans from France in,” he added.
Thierry Baudet’s Forum for Democracy (FvD) reacted in a similar fashion, tweeting from its party account: “Low-educated Africans, responsible for insecurity and crime in French suburbs, have no business in the Netherlands.”
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“Working and living here is for our own people.”
Similarly, Joost Eerdmans of JA21 called van Gennip’s suggested policy a “bizarre plan” that is “asking for trouble.”
The Dutch economy employs around half a million labor migrants at any given time, with approximately 800,000-900,0000 working in the country throughout the year, according to van Gennip.
“Our economy also runs to a large extent on labor migrants. You can no longer see the Netherlands separately from them,” she said.