Dutch government collapses over asylum dispute


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Status: 07/07/2023 11:12 p.m

After days of debate, the Dutch government collapsed in a dispute over family reunification for refugees. Prime Minister Rutte announced his resignation. New elections are expected in the autumn.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has announced the resignation of his government. The differences between the four coalition parties on migration policy were irreconcilable, he said in The Hague. Rutte wanted to offer King Willem-Alexander in writing that evening the resignation of the cabinet. He regretted this step, but said it was “a political reality”. Rutte left open whether he would run again in a new election.

It was the fourth government of the right-wing liberals. She has been in office since early 2022. Rutte himself has been Prime Minister of the Netherlands for almost 13 years. According to observers, a new election will not take place until November.

The media had previously reported unanimously on a migration policy dispute that is said to have broken the coalition of four. A crisis meeting of the coalition partners led by Rutte had failed. In three days of intensive negotiations, no agreement could be reached on asylum policy.

“It’s no secret that the coalition partners have very different views on migration policy,” Rutte told the press, according to the AP news agency.

Poor accommodation

In the past few days, there had been a rift in the four-party coalition because of a push by the conservative VVD party Ruttes. Specifically, two junior partners are said to have refused to make it more difficult for refugee families to meet in the Netherlands. Apparently, the initiative to dismiss the government came from the conservative party ChristenUnie.

Like other European countries, the Netherlands is also confronted with increasing immigration. According to the Reuters news agency, asylum applications there rose by a third to over 46,000 last year. 70,000 submissions are expected this year – according to the information, a new high since 2015. Around 18 million people live in the Netherlands.

Last year there were hundreds of refugees forced to sleep outdoors for months – with little or no access to drinking water, sanitation or healthcare. Rutte had announced that the conditions in the facilities would be improved, in particular by reducing the number of refugees.

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