Netherlands Keeps Hammering on Labour Immigration Downsides
THE HAGUE, 11/09/13 - The Dutch government is determined to go on with efforts in Europe to take action against negative consequences of labour immigration from Romania and Bulgaria.
Social Affairs Minister Lodewijk Asscher is having an investigation carried out on the extent to which the Dutch are being squeezed out on the labour market due to the advent of employees from Poland and other European member states. He will use the results to persuade the European Commission of the Dutch conclusion that measures are necessary.
Asscher says that Europe must do something about the problems with labour migration if it wants the Netherlands to continue to work on EU integration. “If you want to keep the European project alive, and want the Netherlands as one of the founders there to continue to proudly work on it, then you must ultimately do something about the negative consequences,” he declares in an interview with website nu.nl.
Asscher says that while European Commissioner László Andor appears to be deaf to his pleas, the Netherlands is finding a response in other countries. “Social dumping is the phenomenon. We have decided with countries like Denmark and the United Kingdom to put this on the agenda again, as long as necessary until something does change. In Brussels, they are so concerned about criticism of Europe that they are also too quick to reject the legitimate criticism.”
Asscher does however see an improvement in the attitude of some in Brussels. For example, he spoke by telephone with Andor on Monday morning to take the chill off the air. “And I was invited by him to tell my story in the European Council of Ministers and to come up with proposals. The wheels grind quite slowly in Brussels, but it gives me the chance to ride with our allies.”
On Monday, Asscher led a summit on labour migration in The Hague. Those present included Housing Minister Stef Blok and ministers from Romania and Bulgaria. The meeting was prompted by the opening up of the Dutch labour market to Romanians and Bulgarians on 1 January next year.
Dutch officials are going to discourage potential labour migrants in Bulgaria and Romania without qualifications from coming to the Netherlands. At the same time, technicians and highly qualified staff will be recruited in these countries to work in the Netherlands.
Asscher also indicated that he has made agreements with the supermarket sector and the LTO farmers organisations on combating abuses in agriculture and horticulture. Such matters include paying wages in line with collective labour agreements (CAOs), complying with work times and combating illegal constructions. Supermarkets will only take products in sectors like mushroom-growing and glasshouse growing from growers that work with certified employment agencies.