Cabinet to discuss ‘cost of immigrants’

A request by Geert Wilders’ anti-immigration PVV party for government ministers to calculate exactly how much non-western immigrants cost Dutch society, is to be discussed by the cabinet on Friday, reports the Volkskrant.

Some political parties have called for the question to be ignored but the cabinet intends to take seriously its obligation to answer parliamentary questions, the paper says. However ministers must decide how far they will go in their reply on this ‘sensitive issue’.
Integration minister Eberhard van der Laan has asked the government’s social policy unit, the SCP, to help ministers make the calculations, according to the Volkskrant.
It reports that an initial meeting with SCP director Paul Schnabel, two advisors to the prime minister and civil servants was held on Wednesday morning.
Schnabel will not comment on the discussions, says the paper, pointing out that the issue is ‘politically explosive’ and that it is unclear what the PVV will do with the information it has requested. PVV leader Geert Wilders has for some time called for a halt to non-Western immigration.
According to the Volkskrant, Van der Laan has taken the lead in coordinating replies to the 79 questions raised by PVV MP Sietse Fritsma in mid-July. She has asked for calculations from 12 government departments, based on spending over the past five years and a forecast for the coming five years.
Parliamentary questions have to be answered within three weeks but ministers have made use of the possibility of requesting a one-off extension of three weeks.
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