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Formation of government: Wilders announces radical change of course for the Netherlands

Formation of government: Wilders announces radical change of course for the Netherlands

The Netherlands is getting a right-wing government that wants to take tough action, especially in asylum policy. But one crucial question still remains unanswered before he takes office.

The right-wing populist Geert Wilders has announced a radical change of course for the Netherlands. “We are writing history today,” said the politician in The Hague when presenting the coalition agreement between four right-wing parties. “The sun will shine again in the Netherlands.” The leader of the anti-Islam party promised “the strictest asylum policy ever” and a drastic restriction on immigration.

Almost six months ago, Wilders won the parliamentary election with his Party for Freedom (PVV). But he needed at least two partners for a stable majority. The 60-year-old politician gave up the office of prime minister to enable a right-wing government. It remains unclear who will become the new head of government. Former Social Democratic Education Minister Ronald Plasterk is being discussed as a candidate.

In addition to the PVV, the future government parties are the right-wing liberal VVD of the previous Prime Minister Mark Rutte, the new right-wing conservative NSC and the right-wing populist farmers’ party BBB.

“Asylum crisis” and relaxed environmental regulations

The coalition wants to declare an “asylum crisis” in order to be able to enforce emergency measures. The asylum status is to be limited in time, and restrictions are also being announced for family reunification and social assistance. “The Netherlands must structurally belong to the category of member states with the strictest admission rules in Europe,” says the coalition agreement.

The plans also include relaxing environmental regulations for farmers and eliminating subsidies for sustainable energy.

The government is considering a change in relations with Israel: the Dutch embassy could be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem – taking into account diplomatic interests and a possible solution to the Middle East conflict.

Controversial relocation of embassy to Jerusalem

Relocation of embassies to Jerusalem is internationally controversial because this would potentially also recognize Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem. Israel claims all of Jerusalem as its capital, while the Palestinians want East Jerusalem as their capital.

The USA moved its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in May 2018 under then US President Donald Trump.

It will probably be another four weeks before the new government can take office. First, Parliament will debate the plans. Then the cabinet must be put together. The previous right-wing liberal Prime Minister Mark Rutte had announced his departure from politics and is set to become NATO Secretary General.

Source: Stern

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