Dutch Cabinet Fails Over Migration Policy

The plenary hall of the Tweede Kamer ("Second Chamber"), the Dutch Parliament (Photo: JvL / Wikimedia Commons)

The Dutch cabinet has failed to agree on measures to reduce the influx of migrants. This might very well bring an end to the fourth cabinet led by Prime Minister Rutte.

This evening, most of the ministers involved held a crisis meeting at the Ministry of General Affairs. On the table was a final compromise proposal by State Secretary Eric van der Burg (Asylum) for a so-called stop button.

At times when it is too busy in the migration chain, like last year when people were sleeping outside in Ter Apel, the right to family reunification for war refugees should be temporarily restricted, said van der Burg. But that proposal found insufficient support from the other parties.

Last week, there were several crisis consultations on the possibilities of limiting the asylum influx. Especially the right-wing liberal VVD attaches great importance to this. Prime Minister Rutte promised his party that he would come up with proposals to reduce the influx.

Special cabinet meetings were regularly held on the broad topic of migration. The governing parties could agree on labour and knowledge migration, but asylum policy remained a divisive issue.

The left-liberal D66 and especially the Christian party ChristenUnie see the influx of asylum seekers much less as a problem. Party leader Mirjam Bikker said only this week that the ChristenUnie, as a “family party”, cannot agree to restrict the right to family reunification.

In the provincial elections in March this year, the governing parties had already lost heavily.

The big winner was the farmers’ Civic Party BBB. This party wants an asylum quota of up to 15,000 new asylum seekers a year. Experts expect that the BBB may well become the biggest party in the new elections, which would mean a whole new asylum policy for the Netherlands.


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