Dutch news in brief, Friday 26 September 2008
Find out what’s the latest news in the Netherlands in the roundup of today’s press from Radio Netherlands.26 September 2008
Dutch government holds Moroccan youth responsible for anti-social trouble
The mass-circulation daily De Telegraaf devotes its front page to The Netherlands: "Moroccans have fouled up" reads the headline. It says that the government is now openly holding youths from the Moroccan-Dutch community responsible for anti-social trouble in Dutch towns. Recent problems in Gouda led to ministers to explicitly refer to the group.
The AD also devotes its front page to this issue. It says the police should not just address crimes but also anti-social behaviour such as verbal abuse and spitting. The government is asking the Moroccan community to regulate troubled youth. Interior Minister Guusje ter Horst yesterday told MPs that "the Moroccans themselves must clearly say: enough is enough".
The paper says members on all sides of parliament are calling for action to address the situation. "The water's up to our necks, and we're sick of it", says a Christian Union MP. A Labour Party colleague assures us that "people have had enough".
Meanwhile, De Volkskrant quotes Nijmegen Mayor Thom de Graaf, who recently banned 56 troubled youth from a district of the city. He says, "It's time we said who they are: youths of Moroccan origin who cause enormous nuisance". He denied his comments were inspired by right-wing firebrand MP Geert Wilders who called such youths "street terrorists".
EU pact will encourage skilled migration
In its section on The Netherlands and Europe, nrc.next says the EU reached agreement on a plan to attract highly qualified workers from abroad. Immigrants who worked for 18 months in one EU country will get a blue card allowing them to move to other member states more easily. However, restrictions will still be imposed by certain countries.
The Netherlands already has a streamlined process for highly qualified migrants and the new proposals are unlikely to have much impact here. However, Deputy Justice Minister Nebahat Albayrak says, "We still voted for the measure because there are some EU countries which have absolutely no fast-lane procedures. It's important that Europe signs up to advances in this area".
Dutch Protestant Church calls for more traditional baptisms
Trouw has a front-page piece on a paper published by the board of the Protestant Church in the Netherlands. The church leadership says parents are making the baptism of their children too much fun. It complains that they have "insufficient understanding" of the meaning of the sacrament, and that they are failing to fulfil their promise to lead their children along "the path of Jesus".
To emphasise the original meaning of baptism, the paper suggests that instead of sprinkling the infant's head with water, its body should be totally immersed. Trouw quotes the document: "The body is part of belief. Faith is too often an inner manifestation, without external expression".
Migrant workers to be housed in holiday homes
De Volkskrant covers government advice to councils and businesses that migrant workers should be housed in holiday homes in recreation parks. This is being described as "bewildering" by a pressure group that for years campaigned for people to be allowed to live permanently in their holiday homes. In the past, the authorities ignored the practice, but recently began suppressing non-holiday use of the homes.
A housing ministry spokesman denies any contradiction: "Permanent residence in recreation parks remains illegal. Occupation by migrant workers will only be allowed under strict conditions", he says.
Attempts to punish Amsterdam criminals who are still free
nrc.next says that 1,700 criminals in the Amsterdam area who were sentenced to prison are still free. They received terms 'in absentia' totaling 650 years. Amsterdam police chief Bernard Welten says a new website is being launched in an attempt to track them down.
[Radio Netherlands / Mike Wilcox / Expatica]