All eyes on the prime minister: what concessions will he make?

Prime minister Mark Rutte is widely expected to offer some concessions to opposition parties during Thursday’s debate on the government’s 2014 spending plans.

Commentators expect Rutte to make a couple of proposals in line with demands made by the Christian Democrats, D66 and ChristenUnie.

The cabinet needs the support of the big opposition parties to get its more controversial proposals through the upper house of parliament, where it does not have a majority.

Opposition leaders on Wednesday were disappointed that Diederik Samsom, leader of the coalition Labour party, did not make any gesture towards the other parties. In particular, Samsom said he did not support D66 and CDA calls to bring forward planned cuts in unemployment benefit.

According to Nos television, Rutte may well agree to extra spending on childcare, which will please the left-wing green party GroenLinks.

‘If the prime minister wants opposition support he is going to have to make it clear that he is willing to change course in some significant areas,’ said RTL commentator Frits Wester. ‘What is crucial is how much room will he be given or dare to take from Labour.’

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