Dutch Prime Minister secretly visits refugee center in Haarlem prison
Prime Minister Mark Rutte paid a surprise visit to the emergency refugee shelter in the former prison in Haarlem on Monday night. A total of 250 refugees have been staying there since Thursday night.
The Prime Minister spoke with refugees, COA employees and local residents. On his Facebook page Rutte calls the mostly Syrian refugees’ stories “impressive”.
From local residents he heard “completely understandable concerns about the impact on their neighborhood”. “The streets are literally changing. At the same time there is also an understanding for the situation”, the Prime Minster wrote, adding that answers to their questions can not come fast enough.
Rutte sees it as the government’s responsibility to get all these perspectives aligned in the right direction. “The Netherlands is very active in Europe to ensure that we can stem the influx in short and long term”, he wrote. “Think of the redistribution of asylum seekers in order to prevent certain countries getting all the pressure. In addition, for example, the government wants cut off the pass of human traffickers, better control of the external EU borders and sheltering refugees in the region. On Wednesday I’ll be in Brussels to take next steps on these points.”