What’s going on in The Hague? The opposition parties were yesterday due to grill the new government over its policy programme which has taken 100 days to formulate. Bingo!
At last some cut and thrust political debate about a programme that at best is a sketch for a proper policy document and at worst an poorly phrased PR stunt.
But no, just as the debate was warming up, the government dropped a smoke bomb: after months of delay it had succeeded in bringing employers and unions together to discuss ways of making it easier to lay off workers.
In Holland’s highly regulated employment market, this was a major coup. The opposition parties were duly dumbfounded.
And so the sketchy policy programme which claims to boost spending on things that matter, but which in fact is allocating less than the previous government, scraped through the debate.
And when things did get a bit sticky the government simply passed the buck: more details would be given on budget day in September.
But what about the social partners’ talks? They could very quickly break down, letting the government hold up its hands and say, ‘we did our best’. And then the opposition will have to wait until September before they hear anything of substance from the government.
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