The Netherlands needs to wake up and take action to reduce rising ethnic tension between different groups of youths, a senior government advisor warned on Wednesday. Dick Corporaal, charged with monitoring youth flash-points by integration minister Rita Verdonk, said that if the country is not careful, things could get out of control.
‘We will have a situation like France,’ he told NOS radio, referring to riots in the Paris suburbs last year.
Corporaal said councils were not aware of the full complexity of youth culture within a multicultural society. Councils took a simplistic approach and failed to treat the underlying causes of tension, he said.
They talked about ‘Lonsdale boys’ or ‘the Antilleans’ but these were not homogenous groups, he said. And he pointed out that tensions between different ethnic groups were more often an issue in the countryside than in cities.
Later in the day, Verdonk said the Netherlands needs a Minister for Youth to coordinate activities and ‘make sure something actually happens.’ Divisions between various ministries must be broken down and cooperation improved, she said. Seven ministries are currently responsible for different aspects of youth policy.
Verdonk took over responsibility for part of the government’s policy on youth affairs when she lost her immigration portfolio during the cabinet crisis last year.
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