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Dutch government collapses over immigration

Rutte wanted to tighten restrictions on reuniting asylum seekers with their families

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Friday that his coalition government would resign due to “insurmountable” differences over measures to curb immigration.

The longest-serving Dutch party leader, Rutte, 56, chaired days of crisis talks between the four coalition parties, but failed to reach an agreement.

The Dutch are set to hold elections in November after the collapse of the coalition government, but Rutte was only in office in January 2022 after lengthy negotiations, his fourth since 2010.

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“Unfortunately tonight we have come to the conclusion that our differences cannot be overcome,” Rutte, leader of the center-right VVD party, said at a press conference.

“For this reason, I will soon submit my written resignation to the King in the name of the entire government.”

Rutte added that although he has the “energy” to run for a fifth term, he needs to “reflect” first.

– “Not a happy marriage” –

Hungary’s second-longest-serving leader in Europe after Viktor Orban wanted to tighten restrictions on reuniting asylum seekers with their families after last year’s scandal over overcrowding in migration centers in the Netherlands .

Local media reported that Mr. Rutte (dubbed the “Teflon mark” after the non-stick coating on frying pans because of his political slipperiness) took a tough stance on immigration to fend off challenges from the right-wing party.

He reportedly demanded that the number of relatives of war refugees allowed into the Netherlands be limited to 200 per month and threatened to overthrow the government if the bill was not passed.

Last year, the coalition, which local media described as “not a happy marriage,” faced a major scandal over overcrowded immigration centers that killed an infant and forced hundreds to sleep indoors.

Mr Rutte promised a “structural solution” to the problem after what he called a “shameful spectacle” at the asylum center.

But Christian Democrat Kristen Yuni, whose main support comes from the staunchly Protestant “Bible Zone” of central Holland, strongly opposed the plan to cap the number of refugee families.

After three days of talks, a compromise on the so-called ’emergency button’, which would only trigger restrictions in cases of large numbers of migrants, was not enough to reach a deal on Friday.

– ‘Worried’ –

Crowds of onlookers began to gather outside the government buildings in the historic center of The Hague where the talks took place, AFP journalists said.

“I’m pretty worried, I’m worried about what the next government will be like,” said 19-year-old IT worker Marijin Filippo.

Pieter Balkenende, 32, added: “I hope the next government will do better than this one, especially on asylum.”

Rutte has long come under pressure on immigration due to the influence of far-right Dutch parties, including anti-Muslim leader Geert Wilders.

And the Senate elections earlier this year are expected to be turbulent, as a new party led by farmers who oppose EU government-backed environmental regulations won the most seats.

Rutte’s sleight of hand has helped him rise to the top of coalition governments four times in a row, but he has had several dangerous escapes.

His previous government was forced to resign en masse in 2021 over a child benefit scandal that largely targeted minority families.

In 2017, at a time when populist parties were on the rise following the 2016 Brexit vote and the election of Donald Trump, he was widely criticized for turning to the right in order to oust Wilders from power ahead of the election. rice field.


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https://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/latest-news/dutch-government-collapses-over-migration-row-media/news-story/fc57c4c73ca0de46df0664340a3fbc96 Dutch government collapses over immigration

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