Dutch coalition government falls apart over immigration, says Mark Rutte

On Friday, Mr. Rutte presided over crisis discussions between the four parties, but they were unable to reach an accord.

The administration was formed over a year and a half ago, but there has been ongoing disagreement between the parties over immigration policy.

In The Hague, Mr. Rutte met with King Willem-Alexander to discuss the establishment of an interim government.

After approximately an hour and a half, he exited and said to the reporters, “It was a good discussion, but I’m not saying anything else because these discussions are confidential.”

The media in this area indicated that new elections would likely take place in the middle of November.

After a dispute last year over overcrowding at migration centers, Mr. Rutte’s conservative VVD party had been attempting to restrict the influx of asylum applicants. The junior members of his coalition were strongly against his intentions.

During a press conference on Friday night, he acknowledged the government’s collapse.

The Prime Minister, however, emphasized that ministers would keep working as a caretaker ministry until the fresh elections were held.

The number of asylum requests in the Netherlands increased by more than a third in 2018, reaching more than 47,000, and official statistics released earlier this year projected the number would rise to almost 70,000 by 2023.

This week, Mr. Rutte attempted to impose a plan that would have limited the number of relatives of refugees seeking entry to the Netherlands from war zones to 200 each month.

Coalition junior partners Christian Union and socially liberal D66 were staunchly against this.

The decision to quit was “very difficult for us,” Mr. Rutte said reporters after announcing the resignation of his cabinet. There were “irreconcilable” differences in opinion between the coalition members, he continued.

The divisions on migration are sadly unable to bridge, despite the fact that “all parties went to great lengths to find a solution.”

The emergency brake compromise proposal, which would only implement the limitations in the event of an abnormally large influx of migrants, was not enough to save the government.

“The four parties decided that they cannot reach an agreement on migration,” Christian Union spokesman Tim Kuijsten stated. That’s why they threw out the government.

Mr. Rutte, 56, has been in office since 2010 and is the longest serving prime minister in the country’s history. This is his fourth coalition administration, which assumed power in 2022.

As far-right parties like Geert Wilders’ PVV have gained popularity, he has felt pressure to take a hard stance on migration.

The Farmer-Citizen Movement (BBB), which won an unexpected majority in the Senate in March, has declared it will not participate in a future administration led by Mr. Rutte.

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