Post by Focus on Feb 21, 2013 22:16:42 GMT
The Dutch government wants to impose good citizenship contracts on all foreigners, including European Union citizens, taking up residency in Holland ahead of the lifting of migration restrictions on Romanians and Bulgarians next year.
The proposal to make all people seeking residency in the Netherlands sign a "participation contract" before they are allowed to live there follows an increasingly heated debate about immigration in the crowded and small country.
Moves to make people sign a legally binding, good behaviour agreement in which they commit to uphold Dutch values, the countryﾒs constitution and the rule of law could become a template for other countries such as Britain as fears grow over the impact of increased immigration from EU countries.
Lodewijk Asscher, the Labour social affairs minister in a Dutch coalition government that is frequently an ally of Britain on EU issues, has written to the countryﾒs parliament suggesting the contracts as a means of ensuring people abide by "clear and tough" integration rules.
"If we don't take steps, we will pay an enormous price," he told the Volkskrant newspaper on Wednesday. "Cultural integration is breaking down."
Over the last decade, Holland has furiously debated Muslim immigration and was the first European to propose legislation banning the burka but in recent years, as in Britain, the debate has moved on to the impact of migration from Eastern European EU countries.
EU citizens are currently exempt from integration contracts or language exams but, as in Britain, the Dutch government is known to be concerned that large numbers of Romanian and Bulgarians will move to the Netherlands when borders are opened on 1 January 2014.
"The free movement of people without paying attention to the problems it can bring will lead to a more antisocial Europe," said Mr Asscher.
In order not to fall foul of EU free movement rules, which outlaws discrimination against Europeans on the basis of nationality, the Dutch government will apply it universally to all foreigners.
EU citizens and Turkish nationals are currently exempt from compulsory integration exams and measures that are required of non-European immigrants in Holland.
"We're going to find out what is legally possible," said Mr Asscher.
Laszlo Andor, the European social affairs commissioner, said he would be discussing the proposal with Mr Asscher next week amid Brussels concerns that free movement rules are under assault form national governments, such as the Dutch and British.
"To judge if it is legal, we would have to know the details," he said.
David Cameron has pledged to overhaul the British benefits system for immigrants to limit access to British public services to ensure that the UK is "not a soft touch".
The Prime Minister has said that he wants to reform the system allowing immigrants access to housing, the health service, the justice system and benefits -- Not a bad idea but I've got a better one ... tell em to sod orrfff!! - Fx