The Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, has announced the collapse of his government due to the failure to reach an agreement on immigration policy among the coalition parties. Rutte stated, “It is no secret that the coalition partners have very different views on migration policy. And today we unfortunately have to conclude that those differences are irreconcilable.” This development will trigger elections later this year.
The major point of contention among the four coalition parties was family reunification, with Rutte’s People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy and the Christian Democratic Appeal advocating for restrictions as a means to reduce the influx of migrants. However, the Democrats 66 and Christian Union drew a firm line on this issue, leading to an impasse.
Following the announcement, Rutte submitted an application for the resignation of all ministers and state secretaries to King Willem-Alexander, which was accepted. The King will meet with Rutte to discuss the cabinet’s resignation. Consequently, new elections will need to be scheduled, likely taking place in November.
Rutte, who holds the record for being the longest-serving Dutch government leader and is one of the most prominent leaders in the European Union, is expected to lead his People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy in the upcoming elections. The collapse of the current government comes as the Netherlands faces a surge in asylum applications and seeks to address concerns raised by right-wing parties.
Last year, asylum applications in the country increased by a third, surpassing 46,000, with projections indicating a potential rise to over 70,000 this year, surpassing the previous peak in 2015. The strain on asylum facilities and the living conditions of refugees has been a significant challenge, with reports of inadequate access to essentials such as water, sanitation, and healthcare.