VVD under fire for pulling support for asylum distribution law
VVD parliamentarian Ruben Brekelmans received criticism in the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of the Dutch parliament, in the debate on the asylum seeker distribution law. Former coalition partners D66, CDA, and ChristenUnie (CU), in particular, strongly criticized the VVD’s backpedaling after the fall of the Cabinet in early July. The VVD is now strongly against the distribution law, while the Liberals supported it until July.
Opposition parties PvdA, GroenLiks, and SP also had nothing good to say about the VVD’s position in the parliamentary debate on the bill by VVD State Secretary Eric van der Burg (Asylum Affairs).
The VVD faction struggled until the last minute to reach an agreement within the coalition on the distribution law, the parties mentioned reminded Brekelmans. That led to significant delays, they told him. “The law could have come into effect as early as 1 January 2023,” said Don Ceder (CU).
Now that the Cabinet has fallen, the VVD suddenly wants nothing to do with the law. Incomprehensible and irresponsible, many factions find.
Brekelmans does not support the law because it does not contain measures to limit the influx of asylum seekers, he said. “I only want to discuss the distribution law with serious measures to reduce the influx.” He called it “unfortunate” that the Kamer is discussing the law before the elections on 22 November.
The Liberal submitted several amendments. But even if they are adopted, the VVD will vote against the distribution law, Brekelmans said.
The VVD wants, among other things, to lay down in law a maximum number of mandatory shelter places per municipality. The party did not mention a specific number to the irritation of the CDA. The VVD also wants the law, if adopted, to lapse after one year if the Cabinet has not taken adequate measures to reduce the influx of asylum seekers.
After over nine hours of debate, the Kamer’s first term has been completed. Van der Burg will defend his bill from 11:00 a.m. on Thursday.
SP parliamentarian Jasper van Dijk and JA21 faction leader Joost Eerdmans, among others, want to know from the VVD State Secretary how he - “as a passionate supporter of the distribution law” - will position himself in the VVD election campaign. In addition to the VVD faction, VVD party leader Dilan Yesilgoz is against the distribution law. The election manifesto also states that the VVD no longer wants the law. Van der Burg is in fourth place on the Liberals’ list of candidates.
PVV MP booked six hours to speak against distribution law; Only used two
PVV MP Gidi Markuszower did not nearly use all six hours of speaking time he had requested for the debate on the distribution law. After just over two hours, including some interruptions, he called it a day just after midnight when Tuesday turned to Wednesday.
During that period, he asked an enormous number of questions to State Secretary Van der Burg. Among other things, he wanted to know about the level of education and costs of asylum seekers. He also asked for a “reflection” by the State Secretary on numerous reports on migration that have appeared in recent decades.
Markuszower also said that the PVV would vote against the law, regardless of the State Secretary’s answers to his questions. “The PVV was against this law, is against this law, and remains against this law,” the MP said. He hopes his barrage of questions and Van der Burg’s answers will convince the rest of the Kamer “to also vote against the law,” Markuszower said.
The distribution law is intended to distribute asylum seekers fairly across the Dutch municipalities. If municipalities refuse to take in asylum seekers voluntarily, the Cabinet can force them to do so. The Tweede Kamer set two days aside to debate this politically sensitive law.
Reporting by ANP