Belgian prime minister Guy Verhofstadt has written a strongly-worded letter to his Dutch counterpart Jan Peter Balkenende protesting at plans to move marijuana-selling coffee shops close to the border.
Maastricht city council plans to move seven of the city’s 16 coffee shops out of the centre because of the nuisance caused by so-called drugs tourists.
Belgian newspaper Het Belang van Limburg reports that Verhofstadt has reminded Balkenende his new government pledged not to place coffee shops close to national borders. The plan also breaks the Schengen treaty, the Belgian pm says.
Maastricht mayor Gerd Leers told ANP that he had already asked justice minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin what the effect of the coalition agreement would be on the plans to move the drugs cafés but has not yet had a reply.
The Belgians are worried that placing coffee shops close to the border will increase crime and the nuisance caused by soft drugs and draw hard drug dealers to the area.
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