Two stormy debates over refugees in The Hague

social affairs ministryThe Hague city council on Wednesday evening agreed plans to house an additional 700 asylum seekers in the city, with just the anti-Islam PVV and the senior party voting against.

So many people had turned up to listen to the debate that officials set up large screens outside the council chamber. However, a group of some 30 people attempted to get into the chamber itself and had to be removed by police, news agency ANP said.

Most of the new arrivals will be housed in the former social affairs ministry offices. In total, The Hague has places for 2,150 refugees with a residency permit.

Meanwhile, there was a stormy debate on the refugee crisis in parliament on Wednesday evening, with MPs trading insults and accusing each other of talking rubbish.

Prime minister Mark Rutte told MPs the cabinet had done all it could to prepare for the unexpected influx of refugees, who are set to number up to 60,000 this year.

However, D66 leader Alexander Pechtold described the claim as nonsense. He pointed out that the previous junior justice minister Fred Teeven estimated last year that 65,000 refugees would come to the Netherlands – which means proper preparations should have been made.

‘We have not reached half that and things have ground to a halt,’ Pechtold said.

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