Turks exempt from Dutch integration courses

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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

3 Comments To This Article

  • zeynep posted:

    on 24th August 2011, 15:44:29 - Reply

    Turkey is a candidate member of EU for over 20 years. The EU regulations says that member countries and candidate member countries cannot be treated differently.
  • Lorraine posted:

    on 24th August 2011, 12:27:34 - Reply

    I am sorry, but I find it insulting that there are different categories for different groups. EU members can live in the Netherlands lifelong without every having to speak Dutch, whilst non-EU members are harrassed to "inburger" within a set timescale. Non-EU members who have lived here for 30 years and have been working (in Dutch!) suddenly must "inburger". Now suddenly we hear that Turks (non-EU) are not even allowed to "inburger". Why should Mexicans, Americans, Canadians, South Americans, etc. go through the trouble - this has nothing to do with Islam. Get your act together Netherlands - what exactly is inburgering for?
  • Mark posted:

    on 17th August 2011, 14:24:19 - Reply

    the point where even "the rule of law" may end! whatever law says Europe will not change. It will approach Islam and Turkish people as if they come from perhaps the farthest point in the world beyond continents - wherever that place is!... the future is not bright... a continent advocating human rights is in deep conflict with itself... shame on you Wilders the anti-islamist!