Netherlands: New PM vows to stop immigration as top goal of his government Netherlands: New PM vows to stop immigration as top goal of his government

Netherlands: New PM vows to stop immigration as top goal of his government

Netherlands: New PM vows to stop immigration as top goal of his government

New Dutch Prime Minister Dick Schoof pledged on Wednesday to work hard to achieve his government's main goal of reducing immigration, during his first speech to parliament.

In his speech, Schoof said that one of his government's main goals is to reduce immigration, adding: "The biggest of these concerns is asylum and immigration, that's the crux of the matter, no matter how you look at it."

"Migration puts great pressure on social services and social cohesion, the numbers of asylum and immigration applications are high and so are the pressures on society," Skov noted.

The official agreement forming the new government, titled “Hope, Courage, Pride,” imposes tough measures on asylum seekers, abolishes family reunification for refugees, and seeks to reduce the number of international students studying in the country.

Schaff took over from his predecessor Mark Rutte on Tuesday, and it is worth noting that he is not a member of any of the four parties that form the coalition government.

The four parties in the coalition are Wilders' Freedom Party, Rutte's centre-right People's Party for Freedom and Democracy, the populist Citizen-Farmer Movement and the centrist New Social Contract.

The 67-year-old former head of the Dutch intelligence and counter-terrorism bureau was a surprise choice for prime minister.

Geert Wilders' anti-immigration party won the most seats in last year's election, and it took 223 days to form a four-party coalition government.

Opposition from other coalition partners prevented the controversial Wilders from becoming prime minister.

Opposition politicians did not miss an opportunity to criticize the new government.

"For the first time, a party with far-right ideas has a seat in government," Frans Timmermans, leader of the Social Democrats-Greens alliance, told parliament immediately after Skov.

He described Wilders' party's policies as "racist" and announced he would move a motion of no confidence against two members of the government over their views on "demographic restructuring" and their belief in a conspiracy theory to reduce the influence of white people.

Wilders denied accusations that any of his party members were racist, telling parliament: "There is not a single member (of the Freedom Party) in the House of Representatives, or in the country's cabinet, who has anything to do with racist Nazi theories."

Discussions are scheduled to continue until Thursday.

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