Sunday

4th Dec 2016

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.

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.

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."

MEP barred from questioning Oettinger on plane trip

The Hungarian Green MEP who uncovered EU Commissioner Oettinger's flight to Budapest on a private plane of a lobbyist was not allowed to ask the German politician on the issue in the EP.

News in Brief

  1. Talks on wholesale roaming rules to start
  2. Lead MEP Dieselgate committee: Italy and Slovakia will cooperate
  3. Transparency NGO sues EU commission on Turkey deal
  4. Pro-EU liberal wins UK by-election
  5. Finnish support for Nato drops, Russia-scepticism grows
  6. Cyprus talks to resume in January
  7. Documents from German NSA inquiry released
  8. Transport commissioner 'not aware' of legal action on emissions

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. CESIElects Leaders and Sets Safety & Health at Work and Gender Equality Among the Guidelines For Next Term
  2. European Gaming & Betting AssociationContinues to Grow its Membership and Welcomes its Newest Member Association
  3. ACCASupports the Women of Europe Awards, Celebrating the Women who are Building Europe
  4. European Heart NetworkWhat About our Kids? Protect Children From Unhealthy Food and Drink Marketing
  5. ECR GroupRestoring Trust and Confidence in the European Parliament
  6. UNICEFChild Rights Agencies Call on EU to put Refugee and Migrant Children First
  7. MIRAIA New Vision on Clean Tech: Balancing Energy Efficiency, Climate Change and Costs
  8. World VisionChildren Cannot Wait! 7 Priority Actions to Protect all Refugee and Migrant Children
  9. ANCI LazioRegio-Mob Project Delivers Analysis of Trasport and Mobility in Rome
  10. SDG Watch EuropeCivil Society Disappointed by the Commission's Plans for Sustainable Development Goals
  11. PLATO15 Fully-Funded PhD Positions Open – The Post-Crisis Legitimacy of the EU (PLATO)
  12. Access NowTell the EU Council: Protect our Rights to Privacy and Security