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Dutch Government Collapses Over Policy to Limit Immigration

The Dutch government collapsed on Friday after disagreeing about immigration restrictions, which will result in new elections in the fall.

On Friday, one of Europe’s longest-serving leaders, Prime Minister Mark Rutte, announced to reporters that he would submit his resignation to the king while presiding over his fourth Cabinet.

“It is no secret that the coalition partners have differing opinions about immigration policy. Unfortunately, we have to conclude that those differences have become insurmountable today. Therefore I will tender the resignation of the entire Cabinet to the king,” Rutte said in a televised news conference.

Even though the Dutch government already has stricter immigration policies than other EU countries, disagreements over immigration policy have not abated. The Christian Union and the Centre Party, two ruling coalition members, announced this week.

“One of the values that are important with the proposals is that children grow up with their parents,” a statement by the Christian Union party said. “As a family party, that is what we stand for.” The party said it wanted to work with “heart and soul.

When Rutte demanded backing for a plan to ban the entry of children of war refugees already in the Netherlands and require families to wait at least two years before reuniting, tensions peaked this week.

Rutte’s coalition will continue in office as a caretaker administration until new elections are held, which often takes months in the shattered Dutch political system.

According to Rutte, the Netherlands’ support for Ukraine will remain the same even though a caretaker administration cannot make new policy decisions.

The Netherlands already has one of the strictest immigration laws in Europe. However, under pressure from right-wing groups, Rutte had been looking for months for measures to further cut back on the number of people applying for asylum.

In the Netherlands, asylum applications increased by a third last year to over 46,000, and the government has predicted they may rise to over 70,000 this year, surpassing the previous peak of 2015.

After Hungary’s Viktor Orban, Rutte, 56, has served the longest as the head of state for the Netherlands. He is expected to continue leading his VVD party in the upcoming elections.

Since becoming prime minister in October 2010, Rutte has served in four successive administrations, the most recent of which took office in January 2022.