26th Oct 2021

Trust in Dutch government drops, but not for Rutte

Listen to article

Trust in all branches of the Dutch government has plummeted in the past year, according to new polling by I&O Research on Tuesday (21 September).

Only four-out-of-ten voters are now content with the current (outgoing) cabinet, compared to 45 percent in July - and 67 percent in mid-2020.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

Confidence in the ministers (32 percent), the House of Representatives (36 percent) and government in general (42 percent) have also declined sharply.

About 15 percent of those surveyed have "lost all confidence" in the government. This percentage is even higher among the low-skilled at 20 percent, up from 13 percent six months ago.

Especially on the political right, distrust has soared - with FVD (73 percent), BBB (38 percent), PVV (37 percent) and JA21 (35 percent) voters saying they have "no trust in the government at all."

"People don't feel represented," said head researcher Peter Kanne in a Dutch radio interview on Tuesday, referring to the tax-benefits scandal that shook the country this year.

The government had falsely accused tens of thousands of parents of child benefit fraud. Many of them had to pay back the entire amount, often losing their homes, their children and their health due to extreme stress.

Following the scandal, and after losing a vote of confidence, the cabinet of prime minister Mark Rutte resigned. Rutte publicly admitted that he is "politically directly responsible" for the affair.

He then proceeded to win the election in March. However, since then, he has not been able to form a new government, and so only remains interim head of state.

This political impasse has been accompanied by a string of prominent resignations in his (outgoing) cabinet, with Sigrid Kaag, the foreign minister, and Ank Bijlenveld, the defence minister, leaving last week over parliamentary criticism of the government's handling of the evacuations from Afghanistan.

The deadlock exacerbates government inaction on issues that have lead to protests in the past, among them the ongoing nitrogen crisis - leading to farmers' protests in 2019 and 2020 - a building impasse, and the lack of affordable housing. Earlier this month, an estimated 15,000 people demonstrated in Amsterdam against soaring housing prices, which rose by 14.6 percent in 12 months.

However, the study finds the loss of trust among voters in government does not seem to extend to Rutte.

"In the current formation [crisis], many people still see Rutte as the most appropriate prime minister, especially because they are disappointed in the alternatives," the report states.

The perception of Mark Rutte as a "reliable prime minister" has increased since May, while support for other leaders has dwindled. Polls consistently show his party (VVD) at between 20 to 25 percent of the electorate. Since the elections, it has increased.

"Voters probably see there is no alternative," Gert-Jan Segers, leader of the ChristenUnie and his political rival, explained on Tuesday. "If anyone can survive political conflicts, it is him."


Rutte - from 'Mr No' to 'next Tusk'?

Make no mistake – Rutte, sometimes considered as a potential candidate to succeed Donald Tusk, is one of the toughest of the EU's current heads of state.

No place for Polish 'war' rhetoric, Commission says

The EU Commission says war rhetoric has no place between member states, following an interview by Poland's prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki, who warned the Brussels executive not to "start the third world war" by withholding EU funds.

NGOs reveal 71 'revolving-door' cases at fossil-fuel giants

A new research has revealed dozens of 'revolving-door' cases at some of the biggest oil and gas companies in the EU and their lobby groups – triggering calls for stricter ethical rules, similar to those of tobacco industry.

Poland vows not to give into EU 'blackmail' at summit

Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte suggested Poland's Covid-19 recovery money should not be approved until Warsaw respects the rulings of the European Court of Justice and dispels doubts about the independence of its judiciary.


MEPs poised to vote blank cheque for Europol using AI tools

Fair Trials, EDRi and other civil society organisations are calling on MEPs to hold true to protect our fundamental rights. We urge MEPs to vote against the revision of Europol's mandate, which distinctly lacks meaningful accountability and safeguards.

Von der Leyen vows action against Poland

Ursula von der Leyen said the commission might use either an infringement procedure, an EU probe into the ruling, the new tool of conditionality which could lead to the suspension of EU funds, or the Article 7 sanctions procedure.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew report reveals bad environmental habits
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersImproving the integration of young refugees
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNATO Secretary General guest at the Session of the Nordic Council
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCan you love whoever you want in care homes?
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNineteen demands by Nordic young people to save biodiversity
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable public procurement is an effective way to achieve global goals

Latest News

  1. How to break the political deadlock on migration
  2. Hedegaard on the hazards of stalling climate action
  3. Belarus exiles in EU fear regime-linked murderers
  4. No place for Polish 'war' rhetoric, Commission says
  5. Nine countries oppose EU gas market reform
  6. EU-UK impasse on top court in post-Brexit customs talks
  7. Erdoğan orders out US and EU ambassadors
  8. EU banks play 'major role' in deforestation, report finds

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us