Government talks continue to try to hammer out a new asylum policy after another late-night meeting. Dutch media reported that there appeared to be less anger at the closing of talks late on Thursday night, and the four coalition parties said they would continue after a cabinet meeting on Friday.
The talks are reportedly sticking around a resolution of Mark Rutte’s VVD, supported by the CDA Christian Democrats, to crack down on asylum seeker numbers by treating two groups differently.
It is understood that people in danger of long-term persecution in their home country would be treated as “A” status refugees with more rights to bring their families more quickly, while those fleeing war or general political unrest would be considered temporary “B” status asylum seekers.
NOS reports that Rutte has promised his liberal party a crackdown on asylum numbers, amid concerns of growing numbers and crisis situations last year. He has reportedly been asking for a two-year delay for family reunion for temporary asylum seekers and potentially a quota – which the ChristenUnie and D66 object to on humanist grounds.
Leaving late-night talks on Thursday, MPs were cagey about the situation, although there was no more talk of the government falling. “It’s a step by step process and tonight was a step,” said Rutte.
Eric van der Burg, VVD junior minister for justice and in charge of migration policy, said: “We have had good, long talks and [on Friday] we will carry on. If we didn’t think we would come out of this, we wouldn’t talk any more.”
The ChristenUnie did not respond to suggestions that it seemed more positive. Carola Schouten, minister for poverty, participation and pensions, told NOS: “We are carrying on talks on the content with four parties that are really looking at what is possible together, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy.”
Meanwhile Sigrid Kaag, finance minister and head of D66 said there was no reason to stop. “Not for us,” she said. “We think that there’s a powerful packet [of measures] there, but you need to do it with all four of you.”
Talks have been going on for eight months, while a bill to spread refugees more evenly across the Netherlands is also slow going in parliament, on the last day before the summer recess. Was Kaag more optimistic than when she arrived? “I’m certainly more tired,” she replied.
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