Coalition divided over development aid

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The coalition parties are divided about the billion-dollar setback that the budget for development cooperation has to deal with. According to the spring memorandum, the ministry of Liesje Schreinemacher must contribute more than 3.4 billion euros to asylum reception in the Netherlands up to and including 2026.

D66 and ChristenUnie do not agree with this. If it gets so high, it is ‘unacceptable’, Alexander Hammelburg (D66) said in the House of Representatives. Stieneke van der Graaf (ChristenUnie), like D66, wants emergency aid and current programs to be spared.

Liesje Schreinemacher, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, must contribute more than 3.4 billion euros to asylum reception in the Netherlands up to and including 2026, according to the spring memorandum. (ANP / Robin Utrecht)


It has been agreed in the coalition agreement that the reception of first-year asylum seekers will be paid for by Schreinemacher. That has been the system for many years. VVD member Jan Klink sticks to the coalition agreement. Budgetary discipline must also be restored, he said. He also believes that the subject belongs to the debate on the spring memorandum.

Bart van den Brink (CDA) said that getting a grip on migration is the only solution to the problem. He does not want to comment on the possible consequences of the setbacks until Minister Schreinemacher comes up with her plans.

‘Eaten up’

Opposition parties PvdA and GroenLinks find it unacceptable that the aid budget is ‘eaten up’, said Joris Thijssen (PvdA). He wants a maximum for the amount that may go from development cooperation to the reception of asylum seekers. The SGP also feels that way.

The minister wants to dispel unrest among aid organizations. She therefore wants to comply as much as possible with legal reliefs for the current year. “I’m going to do my very best.” Schreinemacher calls the setback ‘painful’, but says he supports the cabinet’s decision. On Prinsjesdag she will announce how she will deal with the setbacks in her budget.

Cash drawer

It is possible that part of the billion-dollar setback will be offset by a cash shift (raising money intended for later years). VVD member Klink said he found it ‘very useful’ to talk about this with the Minister of Finance. D66 and CU also suggested a cash slide. Both sides left the debate ‘not reassured’.

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