Turks exempt from Dutch integration courses
The Netherlands cannot require Turkish immigrants with a residence permit to undergo integration courses. This is the ruling of the Utrecht Court of Appeals announced Tuesday.
Last year, judges from Roermond and Rotterdam ruled in three different cases that imposing integration on Turkish residents of the country is in violation of agreements between Turkey and the European Union. The appeals court has upheld these rulings.
In 2007, the Netherlands instituted the Civic Integration Act stipulating that everyone who immigrates to the Netherlands, including those from Turkey, must successfully complete integration courses. However, this is in conflict with an earlier EU treaty stating member states cannot make new laws that restrict the rights granted to Turks. It also says there must be no discrimination between Turkish and EU citizens.
Tuesday’s ruling cannot be appealed, as it comes from the highest judicial body in the Netherlands. However, the decision will not affect Dutch law regarding integration, said a spokesperson for the legal body. Turks will not be obligated to take the courses, but they may still choose to enrol.
Geert Wilders’s anti-Islam PVV party called the ruling bizarre. The party has called on Minister of the Interior Piet Hein Donner to take measures to ensure Turks become naturalised citizens.
In a statement released Tuesday, Minister Donner agreed to look into the issue further. The Cabinet has also announced a commitment to adjusting the treaty between Turkey and the EU. To do that, the Netherlands will need to gain support from other member states.
© Radio Netherlands Worldwide