Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s coalition government has collapsed over immigration policies. The four-party alliance couldn’t reconcile their differences during emergency meetings chaired by Rutte on Friday, July 7th.
Rutte’s conservative VVD party had been trying to restrict the influx of asylum seekers, spurred by a prior controversy surrounding densely populated immigration centers. This policy was met with resistance by their coalition counterparts.
Despite presiding over late-night meetings on Wednesday and Thursday, Rutte was unable to reach an agreement regarding the management of the increasing number of asylum seekers in the country.
Even a proposed compromise policy, dubbed the “emergency brake,” intended to restrict migration only during high influx periods, failed to salvage the government.
Rutte said, “It is no secret that the coalition partners have very different views on migration policy.”
He added, “And today, unfortunately, we have to draw the conclusion that those differences are irreconcilable. That is why I will immediately…offer the resignation of the entire Cabinet to the king in writing.”
During a press conference, Rutte confirmed the dissolution of the government but assured the continuation of ministerial duties under an interim cabinet until the upcoming elections.
As a result of Rutte’s resignation, the country will hold a general election later this year to form a new government.
Last year, the Netherlands saw asylum seeker applications surge by more than a third to over 47,000. Government authorities earlier projected that the number might climb to around 70,000 in 2023.
Rutte’s recent proposal to cap the number of war refugee relatives permitted in the country at 200 per month was firmly objected to by the Christian Union and the Democratic 66 (D66), his coalition associates.
The collapse of the government marks an end to Rutte’s fourth coalition since taking office in 2010. The rise of far-right parties, such as Geert Wilders’ PVV, had been exerting considerable pressure on Rutte’s handling of the immigration situation.
Furthermore, since its surprise electoral victory in March, the Farmer-Citizen Movement (BBB), the leading party in the upper house of parliament, announced that they would not participate in any future Rutte-led government.