PM: justice done to Parliament

14th December 2006, Comments 0 comments

14 December 2006, AMSTERDAM — Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende said the Cabinet had "done justice" to the wishes of the Dutch Parliament over the asylum seeker crisis. He said removing the asylums policy from the list of responsibilities of Liberal VVD minister Rita Verdonk was a direct consequence of the motion of no confidence MPs had passed against her on Tuesday night.

14 December 2006

AMSTERDAM — Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende said the Cabinet had "done justice" to the wishes of the Dutch Parliament over the asylum seeker crisis.
 
He said removing the asylums policy from the list of responsibilities of Liberal VVD minister Rita Verdonk was a direct consequence of the motion of no confidence MPs had passed against her on Tuesday night.

However, Balkenende said the reaction should also be seen in the "combination of circumstances" the cabinet was faced with during its drawn-out emergency meeting on Wednesday.

He said this included the fact the cabinet was in a caretaker status and that VVD ministers refused to extend a conciliatory hand to the parliament.

The Christian Democrat CDA leader also said it could not be expected of Verdonk to suspend the expulsion of rejected asylum seekers when this went against her wishes.

The Lower House of Parliament debated on Thursday the compromise offered by the cabinet on Wednesday night in the conflict over a group of asylum seekers who entered the country prior to April 2001 when tighter immigration laws came into force.

For the time being, especially rejected asylum seeker families with children will not be deported in anticipation of a general amnesty.

Balkenende said continuing with only CDA ministers would have been undesirable. If the VVD ministers had resigned, he said the necessary "checks and balances" would disappear from the cabinet.

Also, VVD ministers are currently carrying important responsibilities, such as the military mission in Afghanistan and future relations with the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba. Balkenende said those issues had be dealt with by experienced ministers.

In the interest of the nation and the governability of the country, Balkenende had therefore asked the VVD ministers to remain in their posts. The ministers eventually relented.
 
Labour PvdA leader Wouter Bos said the suspension of expulsions was "a victory for the parliament", while Socialist SP leader Jan Marijnissen said the cabinet had made a substantial concession. Green-left GroenLinks leader Femke Halsema also welcomed the decision.

But the three-left wing parties raised their eyebrows at the fact that Verdonk retained several other functions in the cabinet. They will now consult with their parties about the matter.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2006]

Subject: Dutch news

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