It’s going to be a busy few weeks for the three-party cabinet. At least it will be if ministers are serious about achieving all they promised for 2008.
There is a large pile of important and controversial legislation piling up.
Firstly there is redundancy law reform. Despite two ‘kiss and make up’ meetings, it does not seem as if ministers are any nearer reaching a deal. Labour and the ChristenUnie are still totally opposed to the Christian Democrats’ plans.
Then there is Uruzgan. Will the Dutch stay in Afghanistan past next August or not? A decision was promised at the end of the summer but has been delayed and delayed.
Next on the ‘to do’ pile is the thorny issue of top people’s pay. The Christian Democrats are opposed to the Labour finance minister’s scheme to reduce the tax breaks on pension premiums and to increase the tax on expensive homes. This week the tax reforms must be passed by parliament if they are to be implemented from January 2008.
And finally, there are teachers’ salaries. The Labour education minister has promised to increase them, but is not being given the €1bn in cash he needs. Another stalemate.
Last week, the Telegraaf reported that prime minister Jan Pieter Balkenende was under fire for showing poor leadership. It is time now for him to flex his leadership muscles, cut through the delaying tactics and the dithering and actually take some decisions, however unpopular they may be with some ministers.
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