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Holland, Britain, Germany, Austria join forces to fight 'welfare tourism'

Thursday 07 March 2013

EU citizens who have never worked in the Netherlands should not be allowed to claim welfare benefits (bijstand), junior justice minister Fred Teeven said on Thursday.

The Netherlands, Germany, Austria and Britain have agreed to write to the European Commission, calling on it to address their concerns about the abuse of the welfare benefit system by the members of other EU states.

Teeven is quoted as saying in the Dutch media that the four countries think it will be possible to declare [welfare claimants who have never worked] undesirable under current EU rules. The issue is seen as a serious problem in all four countries, Teeven said.

According to Teeven, 4,260 non-Dutch EU citizens were claiming welfare benefits by the end of 2011. ‘We know a certain percentage are fraudulent but we do not know exactly how many,’ he said.

The Financial Times reports that Brussels officials stress there are already measures in place to deport foreign citizens who abuse a country’s welfare system.

'[EU citizens] are allowed to stay for a limited time [in another EU country] and if they cannot sustain or support themselves they must go back,' the paper quotes Cecilia Malmström, EU commissioner for home affairs, as saying.

© DutchNews.nl


Readers' Comments

I suppose that now that the UK is leading this campaign there are no moral objections anymore. The same goes for the refusal of Bulgaria and Romania into Schengen. I still remember the moral outrage in the comments on DN. But now that Germany threatened to use it's veto, and the British media are full of the dangers of Bulgaria and Romania abusing the British system, now of course all those concerns are legitimate.

By pepe | 7 March 2013 10:59 PM

Welfare is not the only problems. Housing, schools, and society as a whole are also affected.

I have nothing against people who wants a better life for themselves and their children, but if I look at some of these people I came to know - no job, no language skills, difficulty in finding a place to live etc. etc. -- screening them is really necessary.

Many of these people are decent folks, but what future do they have when they cannot move forward in a foreign land? They are better off in their homeland, and then perhaps improving their living conditions in their home countries.

By Cindy | 8 March 2013 3:27 AM

600k EU nationals (EUN) living in NL [1]. Total NL working population is 7.7M [2], then ~1 in 2 people are working. Applying this to the 600k EUN, this gives 300k EUN in the workforce (a rough estimate). Bijstand rate amongst EU nationals is then 4.26/300=1.4%...as compared to the NL 7.5%. Although from [1], 20k EUN are claiming jobless or welfare benefits. This puts the EUN unemployment rate at a more comparable 6.6%.

From this, it would appear it's the NL Burger that's benefiting more. (...lies, damn lies and statistics...)

N.B. there is inconsistency between the above rates and those in [1] (9k vs 4260 on WW, 11k vs 9k on Bijstand).

[1] DN report (http://tinyurl.com/cxofwaa)
[2] CIA factbook, 2012

By H. | 8 March 2013 9:45 AM

while I think that all kind of frauds should be tackled ... I also think that this is just another why to distract us from the real fraudsters : banksters, even if the half of those 4200 are fraudsters, that's 2100 * 600 euros * 12 months = 15 millions per year ... much less than the bonus of some banksters that are manipulating the Libor or creating inflation or speculating on food and energy ! moreover the majority of the money given to welfare claimants is re-injected in the dutch economy, while bankers bonuses ends up usually in an offshore account !

By bird | 8 March 2013 10:06 AM

I agree. This is more fair to the people who contributed.

By ufo | 8 March 2013 10:25 AM

Beware of red herrings & scapegoating.

Why not let them stay here, 'but claim welfare from their own country?

If foreigners living here can muster a decent level of English, they should be allowed to work regardless of whether they can speak fluent Dutch: it's about communication, not nationalism.
(Many foreigners face discrimination because of mainstream media negative influence.

Packing, stacking & conveyer-belt work does not need a high level of communication skill & most of these jobs take literally minutes to learn, no more excuses please!

By The visitor | 8 March 2013 4:00 PM

What about those who do not work but still pay taxes because of some other form of income (alimony, family trusts, etc)? Surely if they have been tax payers and then fall on hard times they should be entitled to benefits whilst looking for work, even if they did not work previously?

By Sadie | 8 March 2013 5:27 PM

can we leave EU, please ! and poses taxes and tariffs to UK, Dutch, Austrian and German products to protect our own production and industry and economy. the last time they said we are trap in the EU nightmare and there is no way for a country to withdrawn from the EU nightmare. nick the greek.

By Nikos | 9 March 2013 11:51 AM

Better write a letter over the abuse of the free movement of the capital and the multinationals. The only abuse i see here is the attempt of the UK (basically) to create a EU a-la-carte. Typical english approach. With the support of the people to the EU nightmare to the lower level ever you can imagine what gonna be happen if they limit the free movement of the people. we gonna be free of the EU of the capital and bankiers. nice.

By Nikos | 9 March 2013 12:05 PM

I support this Law , because thre are many people who claim benefit by fraud.

By Abdul | 9 March 2013 2:16 PM

It is my experience, after living in the Netherlands for almost 5 years, that mostly Dutch people actually get welfare benefits. The truth is that a lot of highly-educated foreigners are generating richness in this country (the local population barely go beyond a high-school level) that is in most part redistributed to Dutch citizens.

By ohm | 10 March 2013 1:23 PM

Holland, Britain, Germany, Austria join forces to fight 'welfare tourism'. I’ve been thinking. The Euro-Rats in Brussels will probably stop this. A solution. All welfare tourists should first go to Belgium where the Euro commission can evaluate each case individually and only after a ten year provisional period in Belgium first then allowed to proceed to the European land of choice.

By Terence Hale | 11 March 2013 10:29 AM

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