Also within the CDA there is now criticism of the party course on asylum policy. Members find Hoekstra ‘too right’ with statements about asylum influx, their letter with a request for a meeting now has 80 signatories, the authors report.

    The CDA members oppose the strict asylum policy that the party leadership is pursuing according to them. ‘It seems logical to blame the people who come here. Wopke, in your interview for the AD you actually did so much by stating that immigration should be reduced. But it is not the refugee’s fault that we cannot arrange a bed for him or her,” write the members, who propose a meeting on the theme, followed by “a broad discussion” at the congress.


    “Several resolutions have been adopted by a majority,” says one of the writers. “But too little is happening with them: the conservative supporters within the party always get their way around asylum. That annoys us.” We ‘don’t want to be painted in the VVD corner’, says a former CDA MP who wishes to remain anonymous.

    Even before the asylum deal, the critical members took up the pen, following the AD interview with party leader Hoekstra. He argued for a ‘significantly lower influx of asylum seekers’ and ‘more grip on migration’: “It squeaks and it creaks, so then you also have to dare to have the uncomfortable political discussion,” said Hoekstra. After that, the CDA also signed the agreement. asylum deal that should relieve the pressure on Ter Apel, but also make family reunification more difficult.

    ‘The measures proposed by the cabinet must comply with European regulations’, say the letter writers. ‘The Netherlands has also signed the Refugee Convention and the International Convention on the Rights of the Child. That is not optional’.

    CDA leader Wopke Hoekstra gives a speech at the CDA party congress. © ANP / ANP

    The CDA rate must be recalibrated, say the members. ‘This goes to the heart of what we stand for. Under no circumstances can the failure of successive cabinets lead to us as CDA arguing for the exclusion of people who are fleeing. Refugees are only a small part of total immigration, and for them reception is vital. Another setup will ask to go beyond the easy ‘solution’ from the right (close borders and send back, they only cost us money) or from the left (don’t be so difficult)’.