Asylum seekers who settle in the Netherlands must conform to Dutch standards, prime minister Mark Rutte said on Friday in response to questions about the New Year sexual assaults in Cologne.
The events in Cologne were ‘disgusting’ and it is crucial that all possible legal measures are used against the perpetrators, Rutte said at his weekly news conference. And he said he understood that some people are concerned about the impact of so many asylum seekers coming to the Netherlands
‘I do not hold the asylum seekers who come here responsible for what happened in Cologne,’ the NRC quotes him as saying. ‘Not everyone who comes here is a potential rapist.’
However, there must be no misunderstanding about what constitutes Dutch norms and values and these must be defended unconditionally, he said.
The values of the Jewish-Christian culture, the European principles of the Enlightenment, humanism, equality between men and women, black and white, should not be questioned, as happened in the 1980s, he said.
‘We are western Europe. We are civilized,’ news agency ANP quotes the prime minister as saying. ‘If you are fleeing bombs and grenades, we will offer you a safe haven. But we are not going to change our ways.
‘We have built up this beautiful country over several hundred years. It is a free country, a prosperous country and it has fundamental values. No, we will not make concessions.’
Asylum seekers who are found guilty of sexual assault in the Netherlands have no leg to stand on, he said. The Netherlands has already taken steps to make sure criminal refugees can be deported more quickly, he pointed out.
Police in Cologne are currently investigating 31 potential suspects for the New Year’s Eve assaults, of whom 18 are reported to be asylum seekers.
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