The Dutch prime-minister Mark Rutte tendered the resignation of his government to the King of the Netherlands over the weekend, after two of his coalition partners rejected his proposals over asylum-seekers.
The 'Christen Union' (CU) grouping together with the socially liberal D66 party, objected to plans by the liberal conservative VVD bloc of Rutte to restrict immigrant families from being united.
Under a so-called ‘emergency brake’ proposal, Rutte backed the temporary suspension of the right to family reunification, when the asylum system was becoming overwhelmed and a back-log had formed.
“The Christen Union wants to work with heart and soul on a humane and effective migration policy”, commented Mirjam Bikker, leader of the mainly evangelical CU party.
“One of the values that is important in proposals is that children grow up with their parents, so that they can take care of them. As a family party, we stand for that. This is how we weighed the various proposals,” she explained.
The parties have failed to reach agreement on migration, since the government was set up a year and a half ago.
Premier Christian News has been told by a source close to the coalition that the parties were agreed on not extending family reunification rights beyond the immediate children of migrants, but drew a line when it came to blocking direct offspring.
“Most people want to lend a hand to those in need, but are concerned about the current influx,” explained Wopke Hoekstra, leader of the former governing party of the Netherlands, the Christian Democrats (CDA), which is also in the four-party coalition.
“The carrying capacity of our small, densely populated country is under pressure. People too often find themselves competing against each other for housing, healthcare and education. That puts our mutual solidarity to the test,” he said.
The Christen Union is also a Christian-democratic political party, which sees itself in the centre of politics. It maintains what it sees as progressive stances on economic, immigration and environmental issues, while holding more socially conservative biblical positions on issues such as abortion and euthanasia.
Its leader Mirjam Bikker added:
“Unfortunately, together with the other parties – who of course have their own starting points – we have not succeeded in arriving at a package that we can support together.
“The mission of the Christen Union remains the same: standing up for people and families in trouble, building communities that have sufficient capacity and building a kind of politics that wants to be of service and strives for a good coexistence,” she said.
Fresh elections are expected in the Netherlands in November. Until then, Mark Rutte will lead a caretaker government.