Secretary of State Van der Burg (Asylum) believes that when passing through the municipality of Tubbergen when establishing an asylum seekers center, the cabinet had to “choose between headache and abdominal pain”. Yesterday, the cabinet announced that it wants to grant a permit to receive asylum seekers in a hotel in Albergen, a village in the municipality of Tubbergen. The municipality is strongly opposed to this and feels overwhelmed by the decision.
Van der Burg does have some understanding about the latter. According to the VVD, reception organization COA had been in discussions with the municipal council for months about the reception of asylum seekers, but the municipality always said no. “So they thought it wouldn‘t take place, so in that sense, the mayor was robbed last night when I called her.”
‘Tipper over the fence‘
At a press conference, responsible alderman Bekhuis van Tubbergen – just like the Secretary of State VVD member – reiterated her dissatisfaction with the cabinet decision this afternoon. “I’m very angry, because I don‘t think you deal with people like that,” Bekhuis said. “It doesn’t matter that the Secretary of State just knocks this over the fence.” According to her, the municipality is looking at opportunities to “do something about it”.
Never before has a government granted a permit for the arrival of an azc without municipal permission. The board of Tubbergen feels overlooked. But the Secretary of State states that there is no other way, because the asylum chain is completely clogged. Van der Burg and Minister De Jonge (Housing and Spatial Planning) said last week that they planned to use coercion.
Van der Burg says he would have preferred it to have been voluntary. “But we don‘t find enough places to arrange childcare in the Netherlands.” According to him, intervention was necessary. The COA bought the hotel in Albergen on Friday.
The municipality also feels robbed because, according to alderman Bekhuis, the location is currently not suitable for asylum reception. Four status holder families have received temporary care at the hotel. But the planned 150 to 300 asylum seekers, for which, according to the COA, there is room for, are too many, according to Bekhuis.
These two residents also think that these are too many people:
“In addition, it is located near a village with about 3000 inhabitants; then the proportions are out of balance. It’s not that we don‘t want to take our responsibility, because we also do crisis emergency shelter for status holders and take care of people from Ukraine.” According to the alderman, the discussions with the COA never discussed the possible arrival of “a large azc”.
Demonstration against coming azc
Shortly after the cabinet’s decision was announced last night, dozens of people gathered at the hotel to protest against the arrival of the azc. According to the Tubantia newspaper, the owner of the hotel left under police supervision.
Here are images of the protest:
The Secretary of State contradicted the criticism that asylum seekers are mainly placed in villages outside the Randstad: “The province of Utrecht and the municipality of Utrecht catch just about the most asylum seekers, the other major cities also do a lot.” According to him, there are also smaller communities that take responsibility, but there are also those that do nothing.
Van der Burg said that the cabinet plans to designate places where asylum seekers should be accommodated more often in the coming period, if municipalities do not report on their own.
The asylum seekers must be taken care of in Albergen in hotel‘t Elshuys, where, according to the COA, space can be made for 150 to 300 asylum seekers. According to the mayor, when they should be taken care of is unclear. “We haven’t received a clear date yet.”