Visa ban for Albanians? Netherlands's Far-Right political use

Visa ban for Albanians? Netherlands's Far-right political use
 There has been a proposal by the Netherlands for the visa resettlement with Albania. While the Albanian TV Top Channel  has shoot a reportage in Rotterdam, the largest port-city in South of the Netherlands, where a local party there claims it was the first to propose the resettlement of visas for Albanians.

The Netherlands has a tradition of populist leaders, as the Pim Fortuyn, the former far-right leader who was killed in 2002. Was he who created Leefbar Netherlands, Leefbar Rotterdam's mother party, whose politician does not deny at all that they do not want the Albania becomes part of the EU.

Visa ban for Albanians? Netherlands's Far-right political use
Michel Van Elck
"Albanians have problems with drugs, cocaine, money laundering and asylum applications. People in Albania are safe, so there is no reason. There are many problems with the Albanians. There are many problems in Albania. We do not want Albania becomes part of the EU this moment," Michel Van Elck said, City Councilor of Rotterdam.

Albanians criminals?! Ambassador Bosch: It is unarguable!

The situation is completely different in the city of Rotterdam from the panorama that these extremist MPs show up. Very few people know the Albanians, who make up less than 0.0001% of the population of approximately 17 million people of the Netherlands, and nearly 20% of them are of non-Dutch origin.

But seems that of what has increased even more the negative image of the Albanians is the Dutch media. On April 16, just on the day of voting in the Dutch House of Representatives for the Visa Restitution, one of the largest newspapers in the country, NRC, published a long article titled "Invisible Albanians Climb to Cocaine Trade", according to which the Albanians have raised a drug empire in the Netherlands.

"A bad thing happened on Tuesday morning, exactly when the vote would take place. The main newspaper in the Netherlands published a very negative article against Albania. It was an interview with a prosecutor in Amsterdam who, in my opinion, was talking stupidly. But that's nothing. But they gave an answer to themselves, saying of how bad people the Albanians are. They said Albanians are very violent people. Then they continued with five points to prove what they would say, but it is not true. They said that a school book of 1905 described Albanians as very violent mountain people. They said that Albania ranks first in domestic violence, which is not true. They said Albania has the highest number of murders. That is not true. And you can continue with a long list of things that are not true," said Robert Bosch, the former OSCE Ambassador in Tirana.

Bosch: The Dutch media have blackened Albania without facts

The former OSCE Ambassador to Tirana Robert Bosch was among those Dutch people who was astonished at the approval of the motion of visa regime restoration.

Visa ban for Albanians? Netherlands's Far-right political use
Robert Bosch
Bosch had tried to persuade some of the parties in the Lower House of Parliament to oppose him, as he argues, they are based on wholly misguided facts.

For the article published in the NRC, he had an enormous influence on anti-Albanian propaganda, as some other newspapers have done in the country.

"If you are a normal MP in the Netherlands, you may be scared. They trust the newspaper because they do not want to be seen as weak against crime. So people who were not so convinced to vote, they voted anyway. But other newspapers, especially the Telegraph, have done a lot of propaganda against the Albanians long ago," said the former OSCE ambassador to Tirana Robert Bosch.

Vugt, a chronicler journalist for more than 20 years, thinks Albanians who have been active in the prostitution sector for several years have already increased their impact on cocaine traffic but can not be considered as the largest group of criminals.

"The Albanian groups are not big enough, but are growing in Amsterdam. This is the risk. Most of the cocaine traffic is in the hands of Moroccan groups who have their grandparents from Morocco. They have the greatest control now and create the biggest problems. Because of the murders, they kill each other...The idea is the Albanians see this as a good opportunity. Because the other groups are in high tension with the police because of the murders. I think they are one of the main factors but not the first," said Paul Vugt.

Despite all the media labels when it comes to official statistics from the Central Bureau of Statistics in the Netherlands, the number of Albanians detained by the police is much lower compared to other nationalities.

The Albanians do not even enter in the top 10 nation with the highest number of arrests. And if you notice, Germans who are considered as a country with strong institutions have a greater number of crimes in the Netherlands.

"Dutch statistics show that the crime of Albanians compose only 0.2%. Even less than 0.2%. So it's nothing important. And there are not only just the serious crimes, but all, even the small crimes. Of these 0.2%, serious crimes should be even less. Of course this is a problem, but a very small problem. If you see the first nationalities in the list, the Albanians are not there. How can you say that they are destabilizing the country without anything based on anything," said the former OSCE Ambassador to Tirana Robert Bosch.

In the 1990s, the biggest news in the Dutch media focused on the powerful criminal groups from the former Yugoslav states, which were considered the most cruel.

The researcher Nevenka Tromp was asked by Dutch authorities to write a book for the police academy that would help manage the situation created at that time.

Visa ban for Albanians? Netherlands's Far-right political use
Nevenka Tromp
But in the case of Albanians, she thinks the Ditch MPs do not have concrete facts based on serious studies of how they operate and of how much extended are the tentacles of the Albanian criminal groups.

"If you want to get a paid killer, he will be a Jugo, as they called. ... One of the similarities I see with the opening of borders with Albania is that many people want to leave the country. And among them is a number of professional criminals. Is interesting of what is happening now in the political debate within the Dutch Parliament, is that much attention is being paid to organized Albanian crime in the Netherlands. But at the same time, it is always a political tone, in the sense that since we opened the borders with Albania, all these criminals are ciming in our country and making the society insecure. I do not believe it's a serious argument. I believe it is used for political purposes. By the parties that do not want the entry of new members into the EU," said Nevenka Tromp, a researcher and a pedagogue.

While there are many successful Albanians in the Netherlands, for whom nobody speaks

Top Channel traveled also to Laiden, the Southern city of the Netherlands known for its oldest university of the country dating back in 1575. In this city, Polikseni Loman teaches in a high school, and like the entrepreneur Irakli Demiraku are surprised by the negative image that the media in the Netherlands convey.

"The image is very negative, we Albanians are thieves, we deal with drugs, based on what the media reflects, the description of Albanians is a terrific description. That is, we are 100 times worse than the Moroccans, while the latter are the people who has caused the most of the problems. We kill, kill, without feeling. That's what the media is saying here in the Netherlands," said Polikseni Loman - Teacher.

Polikseni Loman
In my opinion it is not real what is said in the media ... and what the Dutch politicians claim. Especially with this event. Because it is not possible for Albanians to destabilize the Netherlands," said Irakli Demiraku, an Albanian entrepreneur.

Visa ban for Albanians? Netherlands's Far-right political use
Irakli Demiraku
Meanwhile, at The Hague, a few meters from the parliament building that closed the spring session with a motion against the Albanians, there are dozens of Albanians who have established successful businesses. They feel bad about the negative image that is being reflected in the country's politics and media, which according to them does not match the reality.

Visa ban for Albanians? Netherlands's Far-right political use
Agron Seitaj
"We feel very bad. We hear and see the media and news but these media exaggerate and multiply the figures. Why are doing this to Albania? We will prepare a petition and say to this MP of why have raised these charges, we work honestly," said Agron Seitaj, an entrepreneur.

Visa ban for Albanians? Netherlands's Far-right political use

"Are not the Albanians the problem in Holland. Albanians always emigrate for a better economy," said Ilir Shahaj, a chef.
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