The Netherlands can absorb the predicted 60,000 refugees who are expected to arrive in the country this year, Labour leader Diederik Samsom says in an interview with the Volkskrant.
Nevertheless, the ‘large, silent majority’ who also agree that asylum seekers should be helped are concerned about the large numbers, Samsom said.
‘The Netherlands is a country that should always be prepared to help people,’ he said, pointing out that when border defences are built, the problem shifts elsewhere. ‘One country puts up a fence. Another leaves refugees in the rain, the mud and the cold,’ he said.
Refugees are leaving Turkey because they have few prospects there, Samsom said. ‘Turkey needs to establish a decent asylum procedure,’ he said. ‘There should be education for the children and economic prospects for their parents.’
Meanwhile, both Limburg and Noord-Brabant provinces have said they will not set up large refugee centres capable of accepting up to 2,500 people.
Instead the provinces say they will establish a number of smaller centres which can accommodate fewer asylum seekers. Limburg, for example, said it is trying to identify 20 places where 100 people can live.
Small scale centres are more likely to be accepted by locals, the provinces say.
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