Dutch government caves to pressure and spectacularly U-turns on plans to scrap emergency shelter for failed asylum seekers

Secretary of State for Asylum Eric Van der Burg had only announced the plans late last week.
By Thomas Brooke
2 Min Read

The Dutch government has announced an incredible U-turn on the provision of emergency shelter for rejected asylum seekers, known as the National Aliens Facility (LVV).

Less than a week after State Secretary for Asylum Eric Van der Burg revealed that from next year, €30 million in government funding would no longer be available to the five local administrations running a scheme to house asylum seekers whose applications have been refused, he published a letter late on Tuesday evening confirming the scheme will no longer be scrapped and is set to be extended nationwide.

The plan to ditch the scheme sparked outrage among some members in the smaller parties of the five-party coalition government, namely the Christian Union and D66. They argued it was a breach of the agreement reached which facilitated the formation of the coalition.

However, Van der Burg now appears to have U-turned entirely and caved to coalition parties’ demands to keep the government on track.

“The cabinet will enter into discussions with the municipalities about continuing the LVV. The aim is to reach administrative agreements in line with the coalition agreement, whereby financing is made possible from the asylum funds,” Van der Burg wrote in his letter.

“After a turbulent day, fortunately this brings clarity. I hope that the state secretary will soon work together with the municipalities again on humane reception,” said Christian Union MP Don Ceder, who had been a vocal critic of the plans to scrap the scheme.

The Association of Dutch Municipalities (VNG) called the sequence of events strange, adding, “We will certainly receive clarification from the State Secretary in the next consultation.”

Not all were impressed by the U-turn, with Dutch conservative Geert Wilders, leader of the Party for Freedom (PVV), calling Van der Burg a “wimp” in a tweet published on Wednesday.

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