Dutch Government Is Working to Stop ASML From Leaving Amid Immigration Policy Concerns

By John Lopez

Mar 06, 2024 10:10 AM EST

The Dutch government is currently engaged in discussions with ASML, a major semiconductor equipment manufacturer, aiming to prevent the company from relocating its operations abroad. 

Concerns have emerged regarding the potential departure of ASML due to anti-immigration policies, prompting the initiation of talks between the government and the company's leadership.

The newspaper De Telegraaf broke the story first, citing unidentified sources and stating that the ministries involved had called the initiative "Operation Beethoven."

(Photo : EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP via Getty Images)
An employee walks past an ASML logo, a Dutch company which is currently the largest supplier in the world of semiconductor manufacturing machines via photolithography systems in Veldhoven on April 17, 2018. (Photo by EMMANUEL DUNAND / AFP)

Dutch Government Working to Prevent ASML from Relocating Abroad

The discussions follow reports indicating ASML's potential departure from the Netherlands or expansion abroad. These concerns stem from the aftermath of the 2023 elections, during which anti-immigration parties gained significant ground. 

Speaking with the press, ASML CEO Peter Wennink previously voiced concerns about the company's heavy reliance on skilled foreign labor and the implications of restrictive immigration policies on its operations.

ASML, a pivotal player in the Dutch economy, employs approximately 23,000 individuals in the Netherlands, with around 40% of its workforce comprising non-Dutch nationals. 

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On-going Discussions with ASML

Reuters reports that economic affairs minister Micky Adriaansens confirmed ongoing discussions with ASML's CEO, highlighting the government's proactive stance in addressing the company's challenges. 

Adriaansens emphasized the necessity of understanding and resolving the issues raised by ASML to facilitate the company's growth within the Netherlands.

ASML's concerns extend beyond immigration policies to encompass regulatory burdens and the withdrawal of tax incentives for highly skilled expatriates. The company perceives these measures as potential deterrents to its continued success in the Dutch business landscape. 

Furthermore, ASML is contending with infrastructure strain resulting from its ambitious growth plans, posing additional challenges to its operations in the Netherlands.

Big Companies Leaving The Netherlands

While ASML has refrained from commenting on specific relocation plans, speculation suggests France is a possible destination for the company's expansion. However, given its deep-rooted presence in the region, the prospect of ASML relocating its headquarters away from Eindhoven remains unlikely.

The Dutch government's concerns extend beyond ASML, as previous losses of major companies like Unilever Plc and Shell Plc have raised alarm. ASML's potential departure underscores broader worries about the Netherlands' business climate, including grid congestion, emissions curbs, and regulatory pressure.

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