The Frisian municipalities are ready to receive refugees, announced Frisian King Commissioner Arno Brok after a meeting with local mayors on Tuesday afternoon.
Translated by Mehret Haile-Mariam
The consultation on the reception of asylum seekers took place upon governmental request. To prevent similar problems as in recent years, the secretary of the interior and the Minister for Migration asked for a steering committee to come together.
However, Commissioner Brok is careful:” Although the majority of the Frisian municipalities are willing to discuss the modalities of the reception, we are still at the beginning.” The Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA) and the municipalities will have to discuss general conditions under which the reception could occur.
Old challenges – New solutions?
The request made towards the municipalities is not solely due to the recent developments in Afghanistan. Several problems need to be resolved, says Brok. People who live in asylum seekers’ centres throughout the country are still prohibited from working or moving. These people (involuntarily) occupy spaces that could provide shelter to recent and future arrivals. At the same time, an increase in the refugee influx is foreseeable.
Almost all Frisian mayors were present on Tuesday, Brok says. “That in itself is a very positive sign. Even the mayors of the Wadden Islands were there. A large part of the Frisian municipalities is willing to be part of the discussion.”
There is a reason for the King Commissioners’ initiative to invite all Frisian mayors to the discussion. Instead of having well-known municipalities acting on their own, as has happened in previous years, he wanted to ensure that all of the 18 Frisian municipalities would be involved.
Another important factor that needs to be considered is the nationwide housing crisis. The government must be innovative and provide alternatives such as tiny houses or temporary constructions to overcome the constant state of stagnation on the housing market, says Brok.