NOS Nieuws•vandaag, 17:32
The cabinet will meet tonight at the Catshuis to discuss a politically precarious issue: migration. At least two ministers from all four government parties will join, including Prime Minister Rutte and Deputy Prime Ministers Kaag, Hoekstra, and Schouten.
Before the Christmas recess, the ministers involved also discussed migration, but it is the first time that the Prime Minister and all Deputy Prime Ministers are present. The idea is that ministers from the four parties explain how they view the theme of migration. No knots are being made yet; a member of government involved says that he expects “no result at all”.
Migration is a hot topic within the coalition and the parties have quite different views on it. VVD and CDA would like to talk about limiting the influx of asylum seekers – VVD leader Rutte has assured his group to look into it – but curtailment is a sensitive issue for D66 and ChristenUnie.
The latter two parties then disagree with each other about labor migration. ChristenUnie wants to regulate this within Europe and wants to work with a guide number, while D66 mainly points out that labor migrants are urgently needed, because there are major shortages on the labor market.
Migration has been high on the agenda in The Hague since the chaotic scenes at the application center in Ter Apel. Last spring and summer it was overcrowded there and hundreds of people slept outside in appalling conditions.
At the end of the summer, the coalition already concluded an agreement to avert the immediate crisis. It stated, among other things, that family reunification is becoming more difficult (something that is legally difficult) and that asylum seekers with a residence permit must move faster to a normal home. Furthermore, after many fives and sixes this winter, a draft bill was introduced to better spread asylum seekers across the country.
The influx of asylum seekers is expected to increase again soon. In winter, the numbers are always lower, and in spring they increase. A government forecast from November shows that more asylum seekers are expected for the coming year than last year. In the meantime, a number of large reception contracts expire on 1 April. Locations in Amsterdam, Dronten and Velsen, among others, will disappear, and with them thousands of reception places.
To keep the situation manageable, the government is therefore planning new measures. Today’s talk session in the Catshuis is a start, but it will not be concrete for the time being.
Political reporter Jorn Jonker:
“An important part of today’s cabinet meets at the Catshuis. There may be cake on the menu, but the ministers will in any case be served something that they have been facing all year: a crisis that is difficult to solve.
Expectations for today are low, as the parties are far apart in terms of asylum and labor migration positions. Moreover: if you already come to a political conclusion in The Hague, for example about wanting fewer asylum seekers, what can you really do from the Netherlands? This has proven difficult for years and in practice it is mainly an international issue.
The government will therefore discuss this further in the near future. Prime Minister Rutte, who has promised his party that he will limit the influx, is now talking for the first time and he will not be able to come up with results for the time being.”
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