May 26, 2024

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Netherlands: Geert Wilders pledges tougher asylum policy

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NetherlandsGeert Wilders promises “an ever stricter asylum policy”.

The Netherlands is getting a right-wing government that wants to take tough action, especially on asylum policy.

  • A new right-wing conservative coalition is in place in the Netherlands.

  • He has announced a massive tightening of asylum policy.

  • Environmental requirements for farmers should also be relaxed and subsidies for sustainable energy eliminated.

Right-wing populist Geert Wilders has announced a radical change of course in the Netherlands. “We are writing history today,” the politician said at the presentation of the coalition agreement between the four right-wing parties in The Hague on Thursday. “The sun will shine again in the Netherlands.” The leader of the anti-Islam party promised the “toughest asylum policy ever” and tighter controls on immigration.

Those without valid residence permits should therefore be deported “by force if necessary”. The new coalition says it wants to submit an application to the European Commission “as soon as possible” to leave the EU’s asylum policy.

Wilders resigned as Prime Minister

Almost six months ago, Wilders won the parliamentary elections with his Freedom Party (PVV). But he needs at least two partners for a stable majority. The 60-year-old politician gave up the prime ministership to implement a right-wing government. It is not clear who will be the new head of government. Former Social Democratic Education Minister Ronald Plasterk is being discussed as a candidate.

In addition to the PVV, the prospective government parties are the right-liberal VVD of previous prime minister Mark Rudd, the new right-wing conservative NSC and the right-wing populist farmers’ party BBB.

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The coalition wants to declare an “asylum crisis”.

The federation wants to declare an “asylum crisis” to implement emergency measures. Asylum status must be time-bound, and restrictions on family reunification and social assistance are also announced. “The Netherlands should belong to the category of member states with stricter accession rules in Europe,” it says in the coalition agreement. Plans include loosening environmental regulations for farmers and eliminating subsidies for sustainable energy.

The government is considering a change in relations with Israel: the Dutch embassy may be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem – considering diplomatic interests and a possible solution to the Middle East conflict.

Controversial embassy transfer

Relocating embassies to Jerusalem is internationally controversial because it would also recognize Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem. Israel claims all of Jerusalem as its capital, while the Palestinians want East Jerusalem as their capital. In May 2018, the US moved its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem under then US President Donald Trump.

It may take another four weeks for the new government to take office. First, Parliament debates the plans. Then the cabinet must be assembled together. Former right-wing Liberal Prime Minister Mark Rutte has announced his retirement from politics and is set to take over as NATO Secretary General.

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(DPA/AFP/bre)