The Deputy Premier of the Netherlands has called on the European Union to look into immigration reform to tackle what he calls the “negative consequences” of the Union’s cherished freedom of movement policy.
Writing in the De Volkskrant newspaper at the weekend, Lodewijk Asscher said: “If we want to continue to profit from the benefits of free movement, then we have to be ready to tackle the negative side-effects, from crowding out to the exploitation (of immigrants).”
In recent months, the Netherlands, along with the UK and Germany, have been arguably the most vocal countries in voicing their concerns about the number of citizens from poorer Eastern European countries arriving to look for work.
Holland’s current government was actually elected largely on the back of a pro-European stance last September, but as the country’s economy continues to struggle and the unemployment rate continues to rise – it reached a record high 8.7 per cent in July – a growing wave of Euroscepticism has swept through the country, causing it to take a harder stance.
“If you see which part of the population is most disappointed in the government, it’s especially people with little and lower education and little and lower incomes,” explains Maurice De Hond, a pollster. “They are becoming unemployed because of competition from east European immigrants.”