Gov't reveals family reunification plans that led to Cabinet collapse
Justice Minister Dilan Yeşilgöz has revealed the details of the plan to limit family reunification, which sparked a discussion in the coalition last Wednesday and eventually resulted in the fall of the Cabinet. The idea was to allow no more than 200 family members of war refugees per month. One of the options on the table was to admit more asylum seekers in a year with few family reunification applications.
On Wednesday evening, the atmosphere in the coalition negotiations on migration changed when Prime Minister Mark Rutte threatened to submit the plan about family reunification for a vote in the Council of Ministers, among other things. That is very unusual because coalition parties usually try to reach a consensus. ChristenUnie, in particular, was outraged about the plan, which the party found unacceptable, and the Prime Minister's harsh tone. CDA and D66 were also unhappy.
According to the Justice Minister’s details, the negotiators discussed several variants of the plan, in which a maximum of 200 family members of war refugees would be allowed into the country each month. That may or may not be combined with a waiting period of two years before family reunification could take place.
Another proposal was put forward to admit additional asylum seekers if the annual family reunification quota was unmet. That would concern asylum seekers listed as vulnerable by the UN refugee organization UNHCR. A sub-variant was considered here to take the labor market’s needs into account. Canada’s asylum policy inspired that idea.
The idea behind the whole plan was to ensure that the Netherlands does not become more attractive than the surrounding countries, to prevent abuse, and to allow people who are allowed to stay to immediately participate in society, according to the document. In addition, all proposals had to be “legally sustainable within the treaties and the European legal framework” and “implementable.”
After part of the Cabinet, including Rutte and the three deputy prime ministers, discussed this proposal, they sent State Secretary Eric van den Burg (Asylum) on Thursday night to develop a new proposal. That was shot down on Friday evening, after which the Cabinet decided to stop the negotiations - heralding the end of the Rutte IV Cabinet.
Reporting by ANP