Sunday

23rd Apr 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.

Dutch government wobbles over EU budget talks

In what opposition parties have called "a very strange display", the Dutch coalition government on Thursday narrowly managed to avert collapse as it continues to haggle over spending cuts needed to bring it in line with EU budget rules.

French campaign ends in uncertainty and fear

Several presidential candidates cancelled their last meetings after a policeman was killed in an attack on Paris’s Champs Elysees. Pollsters say the race will be very tight on Sunday.

Investigation

Illicit Russian money poses threat to EU democracy

It cost €11 million to help Le Pen campaign in elections, but it cost the Russian mafia less than €100,000 to hire a former UK attorney general to lobby against EU sanctions.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersDeveloping Independent Russian-Language Media in the Baltic Countries
  2. Swedish EnterprisesReform of the European Electricity Market: Lessons from the Nordics, Brussels 2 May
  3. Malta EU 2017Green Light Given for New EU Regulation to Bolster External Border Checks
  4. Counter BalanceCall for EU Commission to Withdraw Support of Trans-Adriatic Pipeline
  5. ACCAEconomic Confidence at Highest Since 2015
  6. European Federation of Allergy and Airways60%-90% of Your Life Is Spent Indoors. How Does Poor Indoor Air Quality Affect You?
  7. European Gaming and Betting AssociationCJEU Confirms Obligation for a Transparent Licensing Process
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region and the US: A Time of Warlike Rhetoric and Militarisation?
  9. European Free AllianceEFA MEPs Vote in Favor of European Parliament's Brexit Mandate
  10. Mission of China to the EUXinhua Insight: China to Open up Like Never Before
  11. World VisionViolence Becomes New Normal for Syrian Children
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsTime to Turn the Tide and End Repression of Central Asia's Civil Society

Latest News

  1. Le Pen-Putin friendship goes back a long way
  2. Mogherini should tell Russians their rights matter
  3. Le Pens Freunde aus dem Trump Tower
  4. Sexe et mensonges: l'information russe sur l'UE
  5. Report: Post-Brexit payments, ECJ jurisdiction could last years
  6. Oxford study raises alarm on 'junk' news in France
  7. Thousands to march in defence of science
  8. Illicit Russian money poses threat to EU democracy