ANPMinisters Dennis Wiersma and Christianne van der Wal, party leader Sophie Hermans and party leader Mark Rutte at the 2022 congress
NOS Nieuws•vandaag, 07:04
The irritations between the government parties about the impasse of the migration problem are increasing. And that will not change after today.
The VVD and the ChristenUnie, which can be called each other’s counterpart in the field of asylum, hold conferences with their supporters. Both in Apeldoorn, and they keep an eye on each other.
The VVD board enthusiastically announces the ‘Liberal Open Day’. Non-members are also welcome to join the discussion and enjoy a drink and a bitterbal. The VVD would like to keep it cozy, but a fierce asylum discussion and criticism of party leader Rutte are also on the agenda.
At the congress last year, he promised a substantial reduction in the influx of asylum seekers. In return, his party supported the distribution law with a forced distribution of asylum seekers over municipalities.
Many VVD members are fed up
For the time being, there is no question of a reduction in the influx, on the contrary. In the coming years many thousands more asylum seekers will travel to the Netherlands than previously thought. In the meantime, the cabinet has started the implementation of the distribution law and municipalities must receive more asylum seekers as quickly as possible via an emergency plan.
Many VVD members are fed up. Such as Teun Heldens, party leader of the party in the municipality of Peel en Maas and Jordy Drieman, party chairman in the municipality of Cranendonck.
Then get out of the cabinet, they say:
Municipal party chairmen: VVD leave cabinet if necessary
How Rutte answers the questions of his critical party members is a matter of concern. Because at the ChristenUnie they will pay attention to the tone and language used by the liberals. There, too, the memories of last year’s party congress are still fresh in the mind.
Former party leader Gert-Jan Segers told a critical base that the stricter asylum agreements in the coalition were just bearable and caused stomachaches and sleepless nights. Today he formally retires as leader.
No more concessions
His successor Mirjam Bikker and Member of Parliament Don Ceder are not prepared to make any more concessions. At the ChristenUnie they do not want to speak of a migration problem at all.
The members will probably vote for a motion to make the distribution law simpler, to arrange more reception for asylum seekers more quickly, and to use coercion if necessary. A new political fact that stands between the ChristenUnie and the VVD.
Political reporter Wilma Borgman:
“The VVD’s supporters are quite unanimous about the asylum problem. They think that more than 70,000 people who come to the Netherlands per year are too many. There are no houses, no medical facilities, no education. That number must therefore be drastically reduced, they say.
Rutte has promised to make a personal effort to achieve this, but there are no results. And they will not come, many VVD members fear. VVD members like to profile themselves as problem solvers. If the asylum problem cannot be solved in this cabinet because of the political differences, then that cabinet may have to go. That sound will be heard loudly on Saturday. It is very striking that more moderate VVD members also say this.
Their support for the dispersal bill in the previous Congress was linked to a lower intake. They say: it is still possible to spread 25,000 people across the municipalities, but that is unfeasible for 70,000.
Rutte will try to buy time. We are working hard on measures. The cabinet expects to come up with something in mid-June. The mood in the rank and file is charged, but not yet so loaded that accidents can actually happen. But if the measures have insufficient effect, the turnips will be really done at the VVD congress in the autumn.”
It is no coincidence that PVV leader Geert Wilders is visiting Ter Apel again today, the site of the overcrowded registration centre. The asylum stop that Wilders advocates is politically unfeasible for the time being. But he will seize the moment to accuse Rutte of making empty promises.
Three seats more than the VVD
Then back to Apeldoorn, because the SP has a membership meeting there as the third political party.
The SP won twenty-five seats in 2006. Three seats more than the VVD. Will SP leader Lilian Marijnissen manage to do that again? “Those were different times,” she says. “Now there are many more political parties.” If the SP members approve, Marijnissen wants to be the party leader again in the next elections.
The main task of the SP is to establish a new program of principles. The last one dates back to 1999. Marijnissen: “Because of the EU, market forces and foreign companies, Dutch politics is about less and less things. We advocate radical democratization. Give people control over their own neighbourhood, work and life again.”