Thursday

19th Jan 2017

Dutch government unravels over Brussels budget rules

  • Wilders (r) says that Brussels will be his main target if the elections go ahead (Photo: Flickr)

Talks on Brussels-based budget cuts have collapsed in the Netherlands, creating the likelihood of snap elections after the summer recess.

The development came on Saturday (21 April) - after more than seven weeks of fierce behind-the-scenes negotiations - when the eurosceptic PVV party, led by Geert Wilders, withdrew its support for the austerity measures and for the minority government itself.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"We will not accept to have our people bleed at the hands of bureaucrats in Brussels," he told reporters in The Hague.

The Hague is trying to find an extra €10 billion in savings after disappointing forecasts last month showed that it would breach the eurozone's 3 percent deficit rule in 2013.

For his part, Mark Rutte, the liberal Prime Minister, accused Wilders of irresponsibility. "There was a lack of political will on the part of the PVV," he said.

Maxime Verhagen, the leader of the Christian Democrats, a coalition partner, said: "The hope for a strong response to the crisis has been drilled into the ground by Wilders."

What happens next remains uncertain, but Rutte is widely expected to hand in his resignation after the weekend.

"New elections are the logical next step," he noted. The earliest possible timing would be late September or early October.

Rutte added that he will try to find a majority in parliament for next year's budget despite the setback. The draft spending plan is due to be sent to the European Commission for evaluation at the end of April.

Opposition groups have indicated they might do a deal, but on their own terms.

"It is the chamber that will take the initiative," said Diederik Samsom, the leader of the social democrats, the biggest opposition party.

If the elections do go ahead, Wilders has indicated that he will make the EU his main target. "Our campaign will be against Brussels, against the euro, and against 3 percent," he said.

News in Brief

  1. Italy to hold 70% of Monte dei Paschi bank
  2. Nato hit by 500 cyberattacks every month
  3. Hundreds of migrants face German security review
  4. Outgoing US vice-president warns Europe on Russia
  5. German far-right party calls for end to WWII guilt
  6. First Chinese freight train arrives in Europe
  7. Europe has no vision, says Italian minister
  8. Juncker has 'slight doubts' on his group's convention idea

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Caritas EuropaEU States to Join Pope Francis’s Appeal to Care for Migrant Children
  2. UNICEFNumber of Unaccompanied Children Arriving by sea to Italy Doubles in 2016
  3. Nordic Council of Ministers"Nordic Matters" Help Forge Closer Bonds Between the UK and the Nordic Region
  4. Computers, Privacy & Data ProtectionThe age of Intelligent Machines: join the Conference on 25-27 January 2017
  5. Martens CentreNo Better way to Lift Your Monday Blues Than to Gloss Over our Political Cartoons
  6. Dialogue PlatformThe Gulen Movement: An Islamic Response to Terror as a Global Challenge
  7. European Free AllianceMinority Rights and Autonomy are a European Normality
  8. Swedish EnterprisesHow to Create EU Competitiveness Post-Brexit? Seminar on January 24th
  9. European Jewish CongressSchulz to be Awarded the European Medal for Tolerance for his Stand Against Populism
  10. Nordic Council of Ministers"Adventures in Moominland" Kick Off Nordic Matters Festival in London
  11. PLATO15 Fully-Funded PhDs Across Europe on the Post-Crisis Legitimacy of the EU - Apply Now!
  12. Dialogue PlatformInterview: Fethullah Gulen Condemns Assassination of Russian Ambassador to Turkey

Latest News

  1. British businessman launches anti-EU website
  2. Germany details its 'Marshall Plan' for Africa
  3. IMF predicts 'pain' for UK, as banks prepare London exit
  4. EP deal could help Tusk keep Council job
  5. UN struggles to monitor fate of readmitted Syrians in Turkey
  6. European space chief: Moon village is 'more or less a fact'
  7. May's speech was not a war declaration, Malta says
  8. EU must find backbone to survive in Trump's world