Netherlands: young people from French suburbs at the heart of a controversy

Netherlands: young people from French suburbs at the heart of a controversy

Social Affairs Minister Karien van Gennip has proposed that Dutch companies recruit young people from French suburbs, in order to “get them back on the right track” and alleviate the very high unemployment rate.

A minister sparked controversy on Tuesday June 14 in the Netherlands by proposing that Dutch companies recruit young unemployed people from French suburbs to make up for the shortage of labor and the “get back on the right track“.

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The youth unemployment rate is very high in France, especially in the suburbs. Much higher than what we know hereSocial Affairs Minister Karien van Gennip said in an interview with the Dutch daily Algemeen Dagblad (AD). “I could imagine that we invest in French dropouts, or for example Spanish, who leave school, to make them work here in catering or horticulture“, she added, stressing that this would allow “put young people back on the right track“.

A “ridiculous idea” according to political opponents

Several parliamentarians immediately expressed their dissatisfaction following these remarks, describing the plan of the CDA minister of the center right as unrealizable and unfair for young unemployed Dutch people. He is “dangerous“to seek out young people from theghettossaid MP Leon de Jong of the far-right PVV party. The government should first concern itself with “Rachid from Utrecht rather than Rachid from Paris“, estimated Zohair El Yassini, deputy of the liberal party VVD. Going to find workers in France is a “ridiculous ideasaid the left-wing party SP.

The controversy prompted the minister to explain herself during a session in parliament. She said she stood by her words but there was no government plan to “fetch» young people from the French or Spanish suburbs. The unemployment rate is historically low in the Netherlands, 3.2% in April, according to the Central Statistical Office (CBS).


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