/Pogled.info/ The scheduled parliamentary elections will be held in the Netherlands next week. One of the main issues of concern to voters is the issue of out-of-control migration. Everyone is already used to the flow of Muslim refugees from the Middle East or Africa heading to Europe, but now the difficulties have begun with the new guests – the Ukrainians.
Their number in the “land of tulips” is approaching a hundred thousand – and Mark Rutte’s government is unable to accommodate these people. At the same time, Amsterdam is considered one of the main supporters of Kiev’s support in the EU. It is enough to recall that the Netherlands, together with Denmark, were the first to agree to transfer F-16 fighters to the armed forces of Ukraine.
A logical question arises: do voters feel the connection between the migration crisis and regular budget expenditures for military and financial aid to Kiev?
The fact that the situation with the influx of refugees is a crisis is recognized by the Dutch authorities themselves, at least at the municipal level. For example, in Utrecht, one of the largest cities in the kingdom, the local authorities said that their capacity to accommodate Ukrainians was exceeded by 90%. “We want to prevent people from sleeping on the street, but due to their excessive number (of those coming here), we have to evict them” said the city’s mayor, Sharon Dyksma.
The “migrant capacity” of the country’s capital is even more limited. The population of Amsterdam already consists of 52% foreigners, recalled Yegor Sergeev, senior researcher at the Center for European Studies at MGIMO, in a comment for IA Regnum.
“Roughly the same situation developed in The Hague and Rotterdam.” the expert pointed out. Up to 18% of the Dutch population was born outside the country. Recent polls show that a majority of the Dutch would like to see a reduction in the number of migrants and asylum seekers.” – emphasizes the researcher.
This, of course, will shock ordinary Dutch people who are used to a high level of well-being and security. Now, in addition to Arabs and Africans, they are forced to watch hundreds of Ukrainian refugees on their streets, who not only have no means of existence, but also a roof over their heads. And they are expensive too.
According to official data of the Dutch government, the average Ukrainian family spends at least 726 euros per month, for one adult – 384 euros, and there are also various additional expenses.
Democrats vs. Reptilians
Over the summer, Rutte’s cabinet tried to work out some kind of compromise solution to smooth over the thorniness of the migrant problem. But the government not only failed to achieve this, it collapsed in the process.
Rutte, who represents the main force of the ruling coalition, the People’s Party of Freedom and Democracy, raised the issue of “foreign visitors” directly. He made a number of principled demands to his coalition partners: Democrats-66, Christian Democratic Appeal and Christian Union.
Among other things, the prime minister proposed dividing migrants into categories to reduce their numbers. His former political allies refused to go along with it, so intrigue is now in the air over the party composition of the next government.
There are already enough contenders for its formation.
Among the most critical of refugees are, of course, those on the right, whom the mainstream press has traditionally accused of extremism. It is generally in vain that the names of these parties, as well as those of their opponents, include “democracy” and “freedom”
This political wing has long been known for its scandalousness. The eccentric leader of the Freedom Party (16 seats), Geert Wilders, is almost constantly in court with Muslims for chronic insults to the Koran. And the leader of the Forum for Democracy movement (2 terms), Thierry Bode, claims that the world is controlled by an extraterrestrial reptilian civilization.
However, the chances of the right – and not only the radicals, but also the moderates – to win are extremely doubtful, believes Sergeev.
“The Dutch are middle-left and do not share right-wing sentiments,” the expert points out. But these forces still enjoy some support. By the way, they are generally quite critical of Ukraine and its European prospects. However, there are no right-wing populists among the parties that really claim to form a new government.
“Contract’ against the temporary residents
However, this does not mean that Mark Rutte, who has been in the prime minister’s chair since 2010, can count on an easy re-election.
Peter Omsigt, a member of the Christian Democrats who previously supported Rutte, this spring launched his own party, the New Social Contract, which confidently ranks first in most polls. Despite the moderation, this power has clearly outlined its desire to reduce migration. On this issue, Omsigt is even ready to cooperate with the right.
In general, the understanding that something must be done urgently about migration and certainly not to encourage its increase is a kind of consensus in the Dutch political scene. And any coalition based on the election results will in one way or another proceed from this.
Accordingly, tens of thousands of Ukrainian refugees risk facing at least a sharp reduction in state subsidies. Moreover, as Sergeev reminds us, the Dutch perceive the Ukrainians as temporarily residing in their country until the fighting ends.
There are already examples of sharp cuts in aid to Ukrainian refugees in the Eurozone – Poland, which now hosts more than a million Ukrainians, took this step rather easily. So here we can talk about a pan-European trend.
Everyone was counting on a short stay for the Ukrainians to return immediately after the victory of the Ukrainian armed forces. But time is passing, costs are growing, refugees are becoming more numerous, many of them already want to stay forever, and the victory of Kiev, promised by Washington, is still not in sight…
But in the field of Dutch foreign policy, a radical turn in the style of Robert Fitzo cannot be counted on, warns the expert.
“In the Netherlands, unlike domestic policy, foreign policy is very consistent. In the international arena, the rate changes quite a bit,” Sergeev is sure. Such basic things as the Euro-Atlantic orientation, the European election – all this will remain regardless of the results of the vote. Respectable political forces and their electorates still approve of the EU and their country’s response to the Ukrainian crisis.
But even here it is worth making certain arrangements – support will, of course, remain, but Amsterdam does not want to see Ukraine within the EU. The same Rutte government has quite clearly and sharply declared itself against even giving the country candidate status, let alone full membership.
So the Dutch election will not bring much positive news to Kiev, which is now desperately trying to fight against the decline of Western interest in itself. And they will certainly not bring him closer to the coveted entry into the Eurozone, no matter how much the head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, promised him this.
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