19 April 2007
BRUSSELS – Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt has written an angry letter to Dutch prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende. He is furious at plans to move Dutch coffeeshops (hash cafes) in the vicinity of Maastricht closer to the Belgian border.
The municipal council of Maastricht has decided to move seven of the 16 coffeeshops from the city centre to the edges of the city. As a result several fo them will be close to the border, not far from the town of Belgian Lanaken, nearby Riemst. Verhofstadt is outraged.
He immediately wrote an angry letter to the Dutch prime minister in which he points out that this is simply not acceptable and not possible, for two reasons.
First of all the Dutch coalition agreement states that coffeeshops near schools must be shut down and that no coffeeshops will be moved to the borders. And secondly, the Schengen treaty stipulates that a member state’s drug policy may not cause any nuisance for neighbouring countries.
Maastricht mayor Gerd Leers says the angry letter from Verhofstadt was an electoral stunt. “Elections are coming up in Belgium and Verhofstadt’s party isn’t doing well at the moment,” Leers said.
[Copyright Expatica News 2007]
Subject: Belgian news