Sunday

21st Apr 2019

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.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

"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.

Magazine

All about the European Parliament elections 2019

EUobserver's new magazine is meant to help readers prepare for the European Parliament elections, no matter their level of knowledge. You can download and read the entire magazine now.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  2. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  3. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  4. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  5. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  9. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  10. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan

Latest News

  1. Romania drafts EU code on NGO migrant rescues
  2. Bulgaria, Hungary, and Malta shamed on press unfreedom
  3. EU drafts $20bn US sanctions list in aviation dispute
  4. Brunei defends stoning to death of gay men in EU letter
  5. US Democrats side with Ireland on Brexit
  6. Wifi or 5G to connect EU cars? MEPs weigh in
  7. How Brexit may harm the new EU parliament
  8. EU parliament backs whistleblower law

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us