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Dutch News
Holland, Britain, Germany, Austria join forces to fight ''welfare tourism'' 3/10/2013
Holland, Britain, Germany, Austria join forces to fight ''welfare tourism''

EU citizens who have never worked in the Netherlands should not be allowed to claim welfare benefits (bijstand), junior justice minister Fred Teeven said on Thursday.
The Netherlands, Germany, Austria and Britain have agreed to write to the European Commission, calling on it to address their concerns about the abuse of the welfare benefit system by the members of other EU states.
Teeven is quoted as saying in the Dutch media that the four countries think it will be possible to declare [welfare claimants who have never worked] undesirable under current EU rules. The issue is seen as a serious problem in all four countries, Teeven said.

According to Teeven, 4,260 non-Dutch EU citizens were claiming welfare benefits by the end of 2011. ‘We know a certain percentage are fraudulent but we do not know exactly how many,’ he said.
The Financial Times reports that Brussels officials stress there are already measures in place to deport foreign citizens who abuse a country’s welfare system.
''[EU citizens] are allowed to stay for a limited time [in another EU country] and if they cannot sustain or support themselves they must go back,'' the paper quotes Cecilia Malmström, EU commissioner for home affairs, as saying.

Primary school heads oppose plans for Cito test register

School heads are opposed to government plans to publish school league tables with the results of the annual primary school Cito assessments, the Volkskrant said on Thursday.
Junior education minister Sander Dekker said on Wednesday he planned to publish a register of the average score per school, following pressure from broadcaster RTL news.
Head teachers say they are worried a league table will lead parents to opt for schools with the highest average score and will over-emphasise the importance of the tests.
Most pupils take the test in their final year of primary school. The results are used to determine what sort of secondary education they will go on to.

‘The Cito test measures the capabilities of the pupil but says little about the quality of the school,’ Ton Duif, head of the school heads'' association AVS told the Volkskrant. ‘It is meant to be an independent aid to support teachers’ recommendations [about secondary schooling].’

The primary schools council is also opposed, arguing that the background of pupils should also be taken into account when comparing school performance.

MPs are also against the publication of a list.
Average Cito scores are not currently secret and most schools display them on their websites, the Volkskrant said. But currently only Amsterdam publishes them in a single list. That was brought in by Lodewijk Asscher, now social affairs minister in the current government.

Winter returns with a vengeance

Cold weather with sleet and snow is set to hit much of the Netherlands last Saturday, weather bureaus said on Friday afternoon.
Cold air will move across all but the south overnight bringing sleet and snow to northern areas.

Today, the temperature will remain around zero but it will feel colder in the bitter northeasterly wind. On Sunday night, the temperature may plunge to as much as -10 Celsius in places.
It will remain very cold into next week with temperatures no higher than 4 Celsius during the day. There will be some sunny spells and snow showers.

Some 600,000 Europeans live in Holland, and few are on benefits

Some 600,000 people from other EU countries currently live in the Netherlands and 20,000 of them are claiming jobless or welfare benefits, according to new figures from the national statistics office CBS.
Some 450,000 of the EU residents come from ‘old’ EU countries, the CBS said. But of the 153,000 EU nationals who moved to the Netherlands over the past five years, 139,000 come from new members states in central and eastern Europe.
It is the first time the CBS has put together a break-down of EU migration. The research was carried out on behalf of social affairs minister Lodewijk Asscher.

The research also shows the overwhelming majority of EU nationals are in paid employment or supported by their partner. In 2011, some 11,000 were claiming welfare benefits (bijstand) and around 9,000 unemployment benefit. A further 13,000 had some form of incapacity benefit.

This is a slight net increase over the past five years and the trend will be monitored in the future, Asscher said in a briefing to MPs.

''As I said earlier, the fact that only a limited number of people [are claiming benefits] does not mean the cabinet will not make an effort to prevent the Dutch social security system acting as a draw,'' Asscher said.
The minister caused a stir last month when he said EU citizens should also be required to sign a ‘participation contract’ when they take up residence in the Netherlands, to show they will respect Dutch norms and values.

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