Parliament on Wednesday held the first of two days of intensive debate on the government’s 2016 spending plans, with problems at the justice ministry and the refugee crisis dominating much of the proceedings.
In particular, VVD parliamentary leader Halbe Zijstra came in for criticism about his support for the justice ministry’s budget, which is unlikely to win majority support in the upper house of parliament.
‘Five years of VVD justice ministers is five years of chaos,’ said D66 leader Alexander Pechtold. And PVV leader Geert Wilders said the ‘days that the VVD represented public safety are over’.
Zijlstra was forced to admit that he is not overly enthusiastic about the justice ministry’s spending plans, telling ChristenUnie leader Arie Slob that it is ‘not the best justice ministry budget we’ve had’.
CDA leader Sybrand Buma warned Zijlstra that the opposition’s objections had to be taken seriously or the plans would not pass in the senate. ‘We need clarity now, in the next few days,’ he said. ‘Not by the time the justice ministry budget is up for debate in the upper house’.
The two-party coalition does not have a majority in the 75-seat senate.
The debate will continue on Thursday when ministers will answer MPs objections. In the following weeks, individual ministry budgets will come under the spotlight.