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Xenophobia and militarism the priorities of new far-right-led coalition in Netherlands

XENOPHOBIA and militarism will be the defining themes of the incoming Netherlands coalition government, with a four-party agreement struck today.

The far-right Party of Freedom headed by Islamophobic rabble-rouser Geert Wilders will be the biggest party in the new government, though it is not yet clear who will be prime minister, a post Mr Wilders has agreed not to seek.

But the “Hope, Courage and Pride” agreement sets out policies the next administration — formed with the conservative VVD of outgoing Prime Minister Mark Rutte, the traditionalist New Social Contract and the agrarian-nationalist Farmer-Citizen Movement — will pursue.

It vows to “deport people without a valid residence permit as much as possible, even forcibly,” end family reunification rights for refugees and reduce the number of visas available for foreign students.

The country will have the “strictest ever asylum regime,” it vows, with Mr Wilders saying the aim would be to make “people in Africa and the Middle East start thinking they might be better off elsewhere.”

It also says it will try to opt out of EU immigration policy and reduce the number of people from other EU states who work in the Netherlands.

“My party will be at the centre of power. It makes us enormously proud,” said Mr Wilders, emphasising its dominant role in the coalition despite having admitted that putting himself forward as PM would reduce the chance of getting a deal signed off, given his incendiary record.

The Party of Freedom founder has previously called for the Koran to be banned, a halt to all immigration by Muslims and for Muslims already in the Netherlands to be paid to leave.

The coalition deal also says the Netherlands will raise military spending to the 2 per cent of GDP advocated by the US-led Nato alliance for its members, and maintain support for Ukraine.

Alignment with US and EU foreign policy has been part of the sanitisation of far-right parties in other European countries, such as Giorgia Meloni’s Brothers of Italy.

Other measures include scrapping subsidies on electric vehicles, raising the speed limit, cutting public spending but increasing house-building and halving the healthcare deductible — the amount citizens pay towards their own healthcare before it is covered by insurance — from its current €385 (£330). It also plans to move its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, indicating alignment with Israel’s far-right government.

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