Sunday

14th Aug 2022

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

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

"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.

Sweden to extradite man wanted by Turkey

The Swedish government has agreed to extradite a Turkish citizen with Kurdish roots wanted for credit card fraud to Turkey, amid the backdrop of Turkey's Nato threat.

Estonia and Latvia sever China club ties

Beijing's club was meant to forge stronger European relations. Lithuania left it last year. Now Estonia and Latvia have also decided to walk over Chinese bullying.

News in Brief

  1. Germany to help nationals cope with energy price spike
  2. Germany wants pipeline from Portugal
  3. Ukraine urges US to sanction all Russian banks
  4. Spain evacuates 294 Afghans
  5. EU sanctions have 'limited' effect of Russian oil production
  6. Donors pledge €1.5bn to Ukraine's war effort
  7. Sweden overtakes France as EU's top power exporter
  8. Italy's far-right star in European charm offensive

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  3. European Centre for Press and Media FreedomEuropean Anti-SLAPP Conference 2022
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis
  6. Council of the EUEU: new rules on corporate sustainability reporting

Latest News

  1. Defying Russian bombs, Ukraine football starts 2022 season
  2. Sweden to extradite man wanted by Turkey
  3. EU must beware Beijing's new charm offensive
  4. Forest fire near Bordeaux forces over 10,000 to flee
  5. Estonia and Latvia sever China club ties
  6. Russian coal embargo kicks in, as EU energy bills surge
  7. Only Western unity can stop Iran hostage-diplomacy
  8. Kosovo PM warns of renewed conflict with Serbia

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us