Right-wing Dutch campaign trumpets billion-euro immigration cost
Deutsche Presse Agentur, May 20, 2010
Amsterdam (DPA) — A new study claiming that immigration by non-Western foreigners costs the Netherlands 7.2 billion euros (8.9 billion dollars) a year could impact the run-up to parliamentary elections in the country, local media predicted Thursday.
Right-wing politician Geert Wilders commissioned the study, which was conducted by the private economic research institute NYFER.
Wilders called the results 'shocking,' saying that they validate his demands to 'stop the immigration of people from Islamic countries, curtail other immigrant and asylum-seeker streams, and exclude new immigrants from welfare benefits for 10 years.'
Wilders' Party for Freedom has faded slightly recent opinion polls but could still become the fourth-strongest political power in the country.
The elections are scheduled to be held on June 9.
The study assumed that some 25,000 immigrants arrive from non- Western countries in the Netherlands every year, with an equal number of offspring.
These people would on average receive a lot of unemployment and social benefits, pay less taxes and lead to higher costs in the fight against crime, it said.
Most of the non-Western immigrants in the Netherlands originate from Morocco, Turkey and former Dutch colonies in the Caribbean. Just under 6 per cent of the Netherlands' 16.5 million residents are Muslims, with most stemming from Morocco and Turkey.
Wilders commissioned the study from NYFER after the government refused to have the national statistics office calculate the costs associated with immigration. During a similar analysis in 2003, the agency had come up with a yearly cost of 6 billion euros.
Immigrants cost the Netherlands 7.2 billion euros a year
By Heleen Sittig
The Radio Netherlands News, May 20, 2010