Dutch coalition government collapses in migration row

The Dutch government has collapsed because of a disagreement between coalition parties over asylum policies, Prime Minster Mark Rutte has said, the BBC reports.

The four parties were unable to find agreement in crisis talks chaired by Mr Rutte on Friday.

The government was set up a year and a half ago but the parties have been opposed on migration for some time.

Local media reported fresh elections would likely be held in November.

Mr Rutte’s conservative VVD party had been trying to limit the flow of asylum seekers, following a row last year about overcrowded migration centres. His plans were opposed by his junior coalition partners.

He confirmed the government collapse during a news conference on Friday evening, after holding an emergency cabinet meeting. He said he would hand his resignation to King Willem-Alexander on Saturday.

But the PM added that ministers would continue their work as a caretaker cabinet ahead of the new elections.

Asylum applications in the Netherlands jumped by over a third last year to over 47,000, and government figures said earlier this year that they expect roughly 70,000 applications in 2023.

This week Mr Rutte tried to force through a plan which included a cap on the number of relatives of war refugees allowed into the Netherlands at just 200 people per month.

But junior coalition partners the Christian Union, a pro-family party, and the socially liberal D66 were strongly opposed.

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