Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Koenders, has expressed worries about the double taxation of Eritreans in the Netherlands. Koenders stated this during a conversation with the Eritrean Minister Osman Saleh on Tuesday 23 August. The Dutch Minister is troubled by the intimidation and threats that are reportedly linked with the taxation.
Eritreans in the diaspora have to pay 2% tax via the Eritrean embassy, on top of the taxes they pay in the Netherlands, in order to use the embassy’s services. This double taxation is not illegal, says Minister Koenders, but it should always be voluntary. The Dutch government has received indications from the Eritrean community in the Netherlands that intimidation is taking place. This could lead to an investigation by the Public Prosecutor, Koenders warned the Eritrean Minister Osman Saleh.
Apart from the intimidation, the Dutch Minister finds the double taxation undesirable. He states it puts extra strain on the integration process of Eritreans in the Netherlands. The Dutch government would therefore prefer the Eritrean government to stop the taxation of its Dutch diaspora altogether.
The two Ministers also addressed EU-Eritrea relations, dialogue between Eritrea and the Netherlands, migration and human rights in their conversation. Koenders stated that it is important to maintain a critical dialogue with the country, also to improve the human rights situation in Eritrea.