New Dutch PM promises immigration cut

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The new Dutch Prime Minister, conservative liberal leader Mark Rutte, promised Thursday to cut immigration after the investiture of his rightist cabinet backed by anti-Islam MP Geert Wilders.

"We cannot continue to allow so many to people without prospects to come to the Netherlands," Rutte told journalists hours after his cabinet was sworn in by Queen Beatrix in a closed ceremony at her working palace in The Hague.

"The Netherlands will always be open for asylum-seekers ... but we cannot continue to allow such large numbers of immigrants."

Rutte, a 43-year-old former human resources manager at multi-national Unilever, is the first prime minister from a Dutch liberal party, the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), since 1918.

His coalition of VVD and Christian Democratic Action (CDA) commands only 52 seats out of 150 in the Dutch lower house of parliament, but has made a deal with Wilders' Party for Freedom (PVV) for the support of its 24 MPs to pass policy through parliament.

The PVV, which remains outside the government, will get a say in policy formulation in return.

Wilders, who campaigns for an end to Muslim immigration, a ban on new mosques and a head scarf tax, went on trial in Amsterdam last Monday on charges of inciting hatred and discrimination against Muslims.

Announcing his cooperation pact with Rutte's government this month, Wilders, 47, said the burqa would be banned and immigration halved.

Rutte said Thursday his government's priority, "besides ensuring that the Netherlands comes through the (economic) crisis stronger", would be to meet election promises on burning issues like immigration.

He said his coalition was "happy" with the support of the PVV, but stressed that "we are at odds with each other" over Islam.

"For the CDA and VVD, Islam is a religion and for the PVV a political ideology. That is a fundamental difference," Rutte said after receiving the cabinet chairman's gavel from outgoing premier Jan Peter Balkenende.

Some political analysts believe the new coalition is too unstable to last long.

The last government, Balkenende's fourth CDA-led coalition, fell in February in a dispute over continued military support to NATO forces in Afghanistan.

Rutte's VVD narrowly won June 9 general elections with 31 seats in parliament, while Wilders' PVV was the biggest climber, nearly tripling its support from nine seats previously.

The CDA, which has been in nearly all governments since World War II, saw its presence dwindle from 41 seats.

The new government comprises six ministers each from the VVD and CDA.

The VVD-CDA coalition agreement promises to cut government spending by 18 billion euros by 2015. The country saw its budget surplus turn into a worrying deficit amid the global crisis.

The longest chapter of the governing accord -- seven of its 46 pages -- is devoted to immigration, proposing stricter conditions for asylum and making it harder for partners and children of immigrant workers to enter the Netherlands.


© 2010 AFP

3 Comments To This Article

  • Leslie posted:

    on 15th October 2010, 18:15:41 - Reply

    Good for he new prime minister to have all those ideals. Why does the Netherlands not try to get their own people back in the country they were born in instead of getting any (ANY!) immigrants into their country. Remember for decades Holland would pay their people a fw dollars to go to other countries, many did. What did they get instead yes, the people with the damn stuff on their head and who live off welfare mostly, paid for by whatever Dutch people are left in the country.
  • stuart577 posted:

    on 15th October 2010, 14:02:27 - Reply

    THIS PRESENT GOVERNMENT IS NOT FOR ALL THE PEOPLE NEITHER IN ITS MAKEUP WITHIN NOT ENOUGH WOMEN AND NO MINORITIES. AND DEFINETLY LISTENS TO WILDERS AS HE SAYS WE WANT TO ELIMINATE THE MUSLIM FROM OUR COUNTRYWITH NO NEW IMMIGRANTS.
    tHE PRESENT GOVERNMENT WILL HAVE THE POOR AND MIDDLE CLASS PAY MORE OF THEIR INCOME FOR SERVICES NEEDED WHILE THE WEALTHY PAY A % LESS IN TAXES AND SERVICES.
  • cornell posted:

    on 15th October 2010, 00:23:53 - Reply

    Please provide some news about Geert's sham trial. The world is watching.