Less benefits for children living in Turkey, Morocco
The new amount of child benefits will be adjusted to the lower cost of living in these two countries.
The Hague – Parents of Turkish and Moroccan origins and whose children are still living in their home countries will soon receive less child benefits as the cost of living in the two countries are considerably lower.
The new amount of child benefits will be based on the cost of living in these two countries.
The measure follows the demands of Christian Democratic and conservative MPs that called for a total abolition of benefits for children living outside the European Union because of alleged widespread fraud.
"There has been widespread abuse. You have to conduct extensive checks in the country of origin. We feel child benefits for children living in countries outside the EU should be scrapped altogether, but there is no parliamentary majority for that. In any case, we are positive about the change," said CDA (Christian Democratic) MP Eddy van Hijum.
According to the Christian Democratic and conservative MPs, most child benefits sent abroad from the Netherlands go to Turkey and Morocco where care and educational costs are lower compared to the Netherlands.
The move is not welcomed by the Green Left party which said there have been ‘only’ a hundred cases of fraud.
The party also accused the cabinet of double standards and said the measure only applies to parents of children living in Turkey and Morocco.
“In the case of Turkey and Morocco, we are talking about some 9,000 children, but nobody talks about the 9,000 children of Dutch parents living in Belgium. This is a case of pandering to public opinion,” said Green Left MP Ineke van Gent.
“Apparently there is a need to take action against Turkey and Morocco which appeared to be rooted in prejudice. It is a tendency in our society."
In response, Youth and Family Minister André Rouvoet said it was a coincidence that Turkey and Morocco has been singled out although the measure will apply to all countries outside the EU.
"Most of the debate focuses on Turkey and Morocco because that’s where most of the children who receive benefits from the Netherlands live.
The minister said he would study the situation in other countries outside the European Union to verify that the cost of living is lower than in the Netherlands. The benefits for children living in these countries will be adjusted accordingly to local standards.
There will be no changes to the benefits for children living in EU member states because of European legislation. The Netherlands will sign new child benefit treaties with countries outside the European Union.
Radio Netherlands / Expatica