The Dutch government has no plans to bring refugee children currently living in Greek camps to the Netherlands, despite calls for action by aid groups.
The Netherlands is prepared to contribute to initiatives to improve the situation in the camps – which the EU is currently looking into – but that is as far as it goes, prime minister Mark Rutte said on Friday evening.
There is also little support in parliament for the move. Last week the four coalition partners plus far right and Christian parties voted against a motion which would have committed the Netherlands to accepting some of the children.
Dutch refugee groups have called on local authorities to ‘show leadership and generosity’ by bringing 500 refugee children in Greece without their parents to the Netherlands because they are currently living in terrible conditions.
They say thousands of children are being denied water, food, education, medical care and a roof over their heads.
Leiden was the first Dutch city to say it will accept some of the children – around 25 according to broadcaster NOS.
‘We are talking about children whose parents have died or are missing and who are living on Lesbos in terrible conditions,’ mayor Henri Lenferink said on Friday. ‘Leiden has always been a city of refugees and I am fully confident we will be able to look after these children properly.’
Greece asked EU countries to take in 2,500 children last October.
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