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Dutch prime minister who presided over farmers’ revolt resigns in disgrace as government falls apart

Dutch prime minister who presided over farmers’ revolt resigns in disgrace as government falls apart

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has submitted his government’s resignation in writing to King Willem-Alexander, who interrupted his vacation to receive it.

Rutte’s fourth government was a fragile coalition formed by his People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), the liberal Democrats 66, the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) and the centrist ChristenUnie. It took 10 months to form the coalition, which lasted less than 18 months.

The coalition, with its radically different outlooks, collapsed mainly because of disagreements over immigration. Amid concerns about a housing crisis, high gas prices and inflation, some people sought to blame foreign migrants, including international students, wealthier expats and asylum seekers.

“It’s no secret that the coalition parties think very differently about asylum policy and today, unfortunately, we have to draw the conclusion that the differences are unbridgeable,” Rutte said at a press conference on Friday in the night “The fall of a government is never good. But sometimes it is impossible in a coalition country like the Netherlands to reach an agreement.”

While the number of asylum seekers in 2023 is expected to be similar to 2022, around 45,000, Rutte and the CDA reportedly advocated stricter measures in a new bill that would limit the rights of family members to join refugees from countries temporarily affected by war. The 66 Democrats and particularly the ChristenUnie did not agree, which led to the disruption of the cabinet talks on Friday.

However, the government’s resignation is unlikely to solve the pressing problems facing the Netherlands. Rutte highlighted several issues in his resignation press conference, including housing for asylum seekers, popular farmer resistance to EU-led nitrogen emissions targets, support for victims from the Groningen earthquake and a government childcare benefits scandal. Rutte stressed that the country is waiting for solutions rather than delays.

In May, the European Commission approved a plan presented by the Dutch government to buy out thousands of farmers in order to meet the EU’s Natura 2000 goals of supposedly protecting the environment.

The scheme would offer farmers 120% of the value of their farms and could close around 3,000 “high-emitting” farms. The Dutch government also has a proposal to offer dairy, pig and poultry farmers a deal for 100% of the value of their farms if they decide to close.

The EU’s Natura 2000 plan aims to reduce nitrogen emissions, but could have a major impact on the Dutch agricultural industry, one of the most productive in Europe. The government had hoped to set aside €1.4 billion for farm closure schemes.

It seems to have been put on hold for now. However, the lack of governance will not be solved quickly. Elections are expected in November, followed by another period of coalition-building in the fragmented, multi-party system. In the meantime, Rutte’s government will act as an interpreter and have limited decision-making power.

Although Rutte claimed that no party caused the collapse, some critics blamed him, suggesting that pressure from his party to take a tougher stance on asylum policy led him to issue an ultimatum. Jan Paternotte, the chairman of the liberal democratic party D66, mentioned that Rutte made additional demands during the negotiations, especially regarding the children of refugees. He noted that Rutte, who was known for seeking solutions rather than resorting to ultimatums, changed his approach.

An opinion poll for the current affairs program EenVandaag, which polled 18,000 people, found that almost three-quarters of respondents found it “unacceptable” for Rutte to return as prime minister, with 83% believing that his fourth administration had performed poorly.

Some groups celebrated the collapse of the government. Geert Wilders, the leader of the right-wing Freedom Party, began his campaign, while Caroline van der Plas, the leader of the populist Citizen-Farmer Movement, who unexpectedly won major victories in regional elections in March and who now has significant influence in the Senate, tweeted that their flags were already flying.


‘USSR stuff to the next level’: EU backs ‘great reset’ plan to buy out Dutch farmers, force them out of farming for good

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