Opposition party leaders were quick to criticise the king’s speech on Tuesday, saying the government is not going far enough to boost employment.
CDA leader Sybrand Buma said the cabinet is not showing enough ambition in terms of creating jobs. While welcoming the cut in taxes, Buma said the government should be doing more to help 600,000 jobless people find work.
‘They don’t care about spending power estimates,’ he said, referring to claims that most people will be marginally better off next year.
In addition, the king’s speech was right to pay attention to the refugee problem but the cabinet’s policy is still ‘terribly behind’, Buma said.
D66 leader Alexander Pechtold said the cabinet has lost its shine. ‘The better the economy, the worse the cabinet’s performance,’ he said. Jobs for 600,000 unemployed need to be created urgently, he said.
However, the cabinet prefers to spend its time on internal disputes and agreeing one unworkable compromise after another, he said.
The parliamentary leaders of the two coalition parties – Labour and the right-wing VVD – welcomed the range of issues covered by the king.
Labour leader Diederik Samsom said he was pleased the king focused on issues such as the climate, energy and migration in his speech.
VVD leader Halbe Zijlstra said that the crisis in the Netherlands is over, apart from for those with no job. ‘This is the job for the coming year,’ he said. ‘People who have lost their jobs have to work again.’
Geert Wilders, leader of the anti-immigration PVV told broadcaster Nos that the government had totally failed to deal with the ‘tsumani of refugees’.
Referring to claims by a Lebanese minister that two in every 100 Syrian refugees is a terrorist, Wilders said the Netherlands has no choice but to close its borders.
Ministers who do not take this step will have ‘blood on their hands’, Wilders said.
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