Wednesday 06 July 2022

Burqa ban, immigration cuts included in coalition accord, say papers

The coalition agreement drawn up by the three right-wing parties forming a new government includes a ban on the burqa and a commitment to major cuts in immigration, the Telegraaf reports.

The deal, due to be presented to the public later today, not only sets out policy for the next four years but outlines the terms of the agreement with Geert Wilders’ anti-Islam party which will support the minority coalition in parliament.
Some parts of the agreement have already leaked out, although there is little indication of how the new alliance plans to slash €18bn from government spending.
The Telegraaf reports on Thursday that the CDA VVD government may also appoint a single minister for integration and immigration issues. At the moment, immigration falls under the justice ministry and integration under social affairs.
The new coalition is also planning a number of tough measures to reduce immigration ‘very substantially’, the paper says, quoting sources close to the talks. There will be a general ban on burqas and clothing which covers the face, and police and justice department officials will not be allowed to wear headscarves.
The three parties have also agreed not to cut unemployment benefits or reform the redundancy laws – both measures supported by the VVD but opposed by the anti-Islam party.
According to Trouw, the new coalition government will have the motto ‘freedom and responsibility’. It says the government will appoint 2,500 extra police officers and 500 other officers to combat animal cruelty – also a wish of the PVV.
And the government will not relax the Sunday trading laws – in line with CDA wishes.
Other measures which have already leaked out include an increase in the retirement age from 65 to 66. The development aid budget will be cut from 0.8% of GDP to 0.7%. The smoking ban in small cafes and bars will also be lifted and the speed limit on motorways increased to 130 kph.
News agency ANP says the new government will not swap the current student grant system for loans only but will cut the period students can get a grant from four to three years.
The Telegraaf says the new cabinet will have 12 full ministers and eight junior ministers and the jobs will be split evenly between the two parties.
Economic affairs and agriculture are being combined into a single ministry and CDA leader Maxime Verhagen is being tipped for that job. Caretaker finance minister Jan Kees de Jager (CDA) is expected to stay in his job.

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