The first letter in 2021 was sent to the European Commission. Our Co-President MEP Samira Rafaela (Renew Europe, Netherlands) asked the Commission to seriously investigate a case of racial discrimination by the Dutch tax authorities and see if this is a violation of relevant EU law and if it could lead to a new infringement procedure:
“It is important that the EU implements the promised commitments now. EU authorities should therefore take a strong and decisive stand against institutional racism committed by the Dutch tax authority. Injustice was done to at least 26,000 parents who were wrongly accused of fraudulently claiming childcare allowances. Families were pursued for fraud, ordered to repay thousands of euros in child support benefits and denied the right to appeal over several years from 2006. Numbers are likely to increase further as parents continue to report cases of unjustified accusations of fraud. It has been admitted by the tax authority that at least 11,000 parents were selected for an extensive inspection because of their ethnic origin or dual nationality. Cases were reported in which tax authority officials referred to parents as ‘little black people’ (‘zwartjes’) and ‘a nest of Antilleans’ (‘nest van Antillianen’).
Data on nationality was unlawfully used by the tax authority to draft general risk-classification models, placing parents with double nationalities under strict supervision without rightful justification. An attorney defending some of the families explained this targeted approach as “ethnic profiling by bureaucrats who picked out their foreign-looking names”. Similar cases are known in which Dutch public administrations have used risk-classification models based on nationality to detect fraud.
The Dutch Government has apologised and prepared an initial and preliminary 30,000 euros per family for compensation. After a parliamentary report, which concluded that “fundamental principles of the rule of law had been violated”, the Government resigned. Despite the resigning of the Dutch Government, no clear prosecution has followed for the institutional racism that was an element of its policy over the last two decades.”
Read the full letter: 2021_02_01 ARDI letter to EC_the Netherlands_child benefits scandal_final