Mark Rutte and Geert Wilders (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Russavia) - Credit: Mark Rutte and Geert Wilders (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Russavia)
Friday, February 12, 2016 - 08:55
Dutch MPs want drastic measures to reduce asylum entrances
A growing number of parliamentarians are pushing for drastic measures to reduce the number of asylum seekers entering the Netherlands and Europe. A majority now believes that the current asylum influx is over taxing the "support" from society and the government should start considering drastic and unorthodox measures to stop it, the Volkskrant reports. The Tweede Kamer, lower house of parliament, debated the asylum crisis with Prime Minister Mark Rutte on Thursday, in preparation for a European summit on the issue next week. Coalition party VVD emphatically stated that the government should keep the option open to close the Dutch borders if the European negotiations with Turkey doe not produce enough results in the coming weeks. "Then we have to look further. I exclude nothing", VVD leader Halbe Zijlstra said, joining the PVV's side of the argument. Both PVV and VVD are pushing for sheltering asylum seekers in their own region. PVV leader Geert Wilders surprised the Kamer by putting emphasis on the safety of war asylum seekers. "It's not that people hate asylum seekers. It's not that they think that people have no right to safe place." he said. "They deserve a safe haven. They deserve safety. But not here. It has to be in the region." Not all parties are for closing the Dutch borders. D66 leader Alexander Pechtold criticized Zijlstra's threatening choice of words. "Do you want to close all 400 border crossings?" he asked, pointing out that asylum seekers can enter the Netherlands in other ways. PvdA leader Diederik Samsom also does not have high hopes for closing the Dutch borders. "There are eleven borders between the Netherlands and Greece. Human tragedies happen on all these borders", he said. He has better hopes for his own plan - shelter asylum seekers in Turkey. Rutte is carefully optimistic about Turkey's efforts to better control the borders. "The Turks are taking many initiatives. They are really busy with, for example, intervening on beaches and to break the business model of human traffickers. That gives us confidence that we are on the right track." he said. He emphasized that European countries will not take any "legal" refugees from Turkey if the country does not stop the unregulated flow. "If it does not work with Turkey, we will have to look for other solutions. But I am not going to lower the flag. It would be unwise to now say: this is not working, we're closing the borders."