Chamber: Cabinet must take action to help Moria refugees

Political parties in the Lower House want the Cabinet to investigate how vulnerable children from the Moria migrant camp on Lesbos can be taken care of on the Greek mainland as soon as possible.

Now that fires have destroyed a large part of the camp, the coalition parties ChristenUnie, CDA and D66, as well as GroenLinks, Denk, SP and PvdA, are pleading for rapid action from the cabinet. Because of the fires, thousands of people have fled the camp and are homeless.

The House of Representatives and State Secretary Broekers-Knol will discuss the matter tomorrow in an urgent debate, in which it cannot be ruled out that Christian Union and D66 will reconsider coalition agreements previously made to receive the refugees only in the region.

But in any case, a majority in the Chamber wants vulnerable underage children to be transferred to the Greek mainland as soon as possible.

“The drama there is complete,” says CDA MP Van Toorenburg. “The Cabinet must act as quickly as possible with emergency aid. And all vulnerable people must go to the mainland as quickly as possible.”

400 children

Greek Prime Minister Mitsotakis said today that migrants who have become homeless are not allowed to leave the island. However, 400 single children will be flown to the mainland at the EU’s expense.

ChristenUnie MP Voordewind calls it “good that the EU is now taking 400 children away” but also calls on the Dutch cabinet to take action. “What we now have to do is to intervene in the acute need of the refugees. Their safety, shelter and food have priority. Once the children have a status, the Netherlands must also participate in a proportional distribution across Europe”

Frightened to death

Since the end of last year, the Greek government has been asking countries from the EU to take over 2500 vulnerable refugee children from the overcrowded camps there. Eleven countries, including Germany, have responded to this request. So far, the Netherlands has not taken part. However, the Cabinet has co-payed for the reception of these children in Greece.

PvdA Member of Parliament Nijboer thinks the Dutch attitude is cold: “People are scared to death. They sit with 14,000 people in a place where there can only be 3000. Children mutilate themselves. And the Netherlands is still too miserable to take away 500 people” He wants to know if the cabinet is willing to follow Germany with the care of children.

According to SP leader Marijnissen, “looking away for longer is really unacceptable. GroenLinks-forman Klaver believes that the Netherlands “must now show leadership and offer these people safety”.