Tuesday

17th Oct 2017

Dutch minority government set to form with far-right backing

  • A campaign poster for Geert Wilders' far-right Freedom Party (Photo: Flickr)

One of the most conservative Dutch governments ever was in the offing Sunday, with the conservative-liberal election winners of the VVD party agreeing on a minority coalition with the centre-right Christian Democrats and backed on a case-by-case basis by the far-right anti-Islam Freedom Party of Geert Wilders.

After almost two months of failed talks between all the major parties across the political spectrum, on the weekend it appeared that the three parties had coalesced on a formula that would not give the Freedom Party (PVV) a role in government or any cabinet positions, but would see the party back a minority coalition on confidence votes.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

In return for the support of the Geert Wilders on the key demand of the VVD, the other two parties agreed to support additional immigration controls and a law-and-order agenda.

Crucially, the agreement will let Mr Wilders speak his mind as far as Islam and immigration are concerned. Mr Wilders, who is the only member of his political party, wants to see a ban on the construction of mosques, a tax imposed on people who wear the veil and the expulsion of millions of muslims from Europe.

Late Friday (30 July), the three parties put out a joint statement noting that they "differ in opinion on the nature and character of Islam. The dividing line lies in characterising Islam as a religion or an ideology"

However, they had swallowed their differences, with the PVV backing €18 billion in swingeing cuts to public spending in exchange for "tough agreements on immigration, integration, asylum, safety and better care for the elderly". The VVD had wanted to make cuts of €20 billion.

The preliminary agreement by the parties will now be followed this week by formal talks on details of a coalition programme.

However, the centre and left of the house have cried foul over the development, saying that all the previous discussions over possible coalitions had been with the sole aim of cobbling together a majority government.

Ruud Lubbers, tasked by Queen Beatrix to sound out the parties on possible coalition combinations, had not attempted to find agreement on a minority government, they say.

"It's his job to look into forming majority governments," Job Cohen, the Labor leader said, according to public broadcaster NOS radio on Saturday. "Our country really needs a stable majority cabinet in this difficult economic situation."

Femke Halsema, leader of the environmentalist Groenlinks party called the agreement "highly questionable democracy," while Alexander Pechtold, the leader of D66, the ‘social liberal' party, also complained that Mr Lubbers had only been charged with seeking a majority coalition.

Internally, the idea of being supported by the PVV horrifies a number of prominent members of both the VVD and the Christian Democrats.

Three Christian Democrat former ministers have come out publicly against such an arrangement.

And Frans Weisglas, a former VVD parliamentary house speaker told NOS that the Christian Democrats and VVD "have let themselves be swallowed whole by the Freedom Party, which is very regrettable."

New Dutch government to rest on support of far-right

Two Dutch centre-right parties on Tuesday concluded negotiations for a minority government with the parliamentary support of the anti-Islam Freedom Party. The terms of the deal are likely to emerge in the coming days.

Catalonia to declare independence in a few days

Spain's king, Felipe VI, said Catalonia's leaders were breaking up the country's unity as hundreds of thousands of Catalans rallied against police violence at Sunday's referendum.

EU Commission's credibility eroding, says Catalonia

A former commission official who now represents the Catalan government says some European commissioners do not agree with the EU commission's official statement on Catalonia's bid for independence from Spain.

EU stays mute on Catalonia

EU leaders and institutions largely remain silent, despite calls to condemn the brutal police crackdown at polling stations in Catalonia during its disputed independence vote.

Austrian voters reject liberal status quo

Counting continues, but conservative leader Sebastian Kurz is likely to form a coalition with the far-right and could become one of the EU's most vocal critics.

Brexit 'deadlock' prevents move to trade negotiations

EU negotiator Barnier also said after the latest round of Brexit talks that with political will, progress can be achieved in the next two months - in time for the December EU summit to give the green light.

News in Brief

  1. EU to keep 'Dieselgate' letter secret
  2. No deal yet on Mediterranean alliance for EU agencies
  3. EU Commission condemns Maltese journalist's murder
  4. Poland denies wrongdoing over forest logging
  5. Risk to asylum kids in EU increasing, says charity
  6. Schroeder warns of Turkey and Russia drifting towards China
  7. EU parliament wants equal pay for posted workers
  8. Catalan independence leaders taken into custody

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EU2017EENorth Korea Leaves Europe No Choice, Says Estonian Foreign Minister Sven Mikser
  2. Mission of China to the EUZhang Ming Appointed New Ambassador of the Mission of China to the EU
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsEU Should Seek Concrete Commitments From Azerbaijan at Human Rights Dialogue
  4. European Jewish CongressEJC Calls for New Austrian Government to Exclude Extremist Freedom Party
  5. CES - Silicones EuropeIn Healthcare, Silicones Are the Frontrunner. And That's a Good Thing!
  6. EU2017EEEuropean Space Week 2017 in Tallinn from November 3-9. Register Now!
  7. European Entrepreneurs CEA-PMEMobiliseSME Exchange Programme Open Doors for 400 Companies Across Europe
  8. CECEE-Privacy Regulation – Hands off M2M Communication!
  9. ILGA-EuropeHealth4LGBTI: Reducing Health Inequalities Experienced by LGBTI People
  10. EU2017EEEHealth: A Tool for More Equal Health
  11. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Tourism a Key Driver for Job Creation and Enhanced Competitiveness
  12. CECENon-Harmonised Homologation of Mobile Machinery Costs € 90 Million per Year

Latest News

  1. Nepal troops arrive in Libya to guard UN refugee agency
  2. Is Banking Authority HQ the Brexit 'booby prize'?
  3. EU-Russia trade bouncing back - despite sanctions
  4. No sign of Brexit speed-up after May-Juncker dinner
  5. EU defence strategy 'outsourced' to arms industry
  6. EU privacy rules tilt to industry, NGO says
  7. Malta in shock after car bomb kills crusading journalist
  8. Spanish and Catalan leaders continue stand-off