Dutch PM says ministers two passports no problem

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Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte says he has no issue with the dual nationality held by Christian Democrat Deputy Health Minister Marlies Veldhuijzen van Zanten-Hyllner. He made the remarks in Brussels on Wednesday during his first foreign visit since taking office.

“From on the fact that I was aware of her dual nationality, you can gather that I don’t see it as a problem,” Mr Rutte said in response to questions over Ms Veldhuijzen van Zanten-Hyllner, who holds both Dutch and Swedish Nationality.

Far-right Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders is planning to table a motion in parliament next week calling on the deputy health minister to give up her Swedish nationality. The new coalition centre-right coalition of Mr Rutte’s conservative VVD party and the Christian Democrats depends on the Freedom Party for its majority in parliament. The passport issue threatens to become the first clash between the two governing parties and the Freedom Party.

Mr Wilders objects to dual nationality in principle. In 2007 he raised furious objections to the previous government’s appointment of Labour Party deputy ministers Ahmed Aboutaleb and Nebahat Albayrak. The two hold Moroccan and Turkish passports respectively alongside their Dutch ones. At the time Mr Rutte also said it would be a credit to them if they gave up their foreign nationalities.

According to the coalition agreement, the new government believes the possibility to hold dual nationality should be restricted as far as possible.  

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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