With the Netherlands poised to virtually shut down until January 4, leading politicians have been giving their thoughts on the year’s events in a number of lengthy interviews.
Finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem told website Nu.nl that the Netherlands would not be better off if the cabinet fell and that he aims to see the job through to 2017, when the next general election will be held.
‘As finance minister, I know the country is best served by economic and political stability,’ he said. ‘And political stability is part of that.’
If the cabinet, which is well down in the opinion polls, were to fall, there would be an 18-month halt to the implementation of new policy, he said. ‘And in an election, politicians will start promising the earth. Elections are great things, but every four years is sufficient.’
Prime minister Mark Rutte said in an interview with the AD that he understands that many people are disillusioned with politicians and see them as greedy but that in his experience the Binnenhof parliamentary complex is full of good, straightforward people, even if he disagrees with their politics.
There are always things that go wrong, Rutte said. ‘But by far the majority of the people here are trying to do their best for the country with the best of intentions,’ he said.
‘2015 was a difficult year but there are enough serious issues to deal with next year. The European presidency, tackling unemployment, the refugee crisis. We cannot do the last of these alone. We have to work together with countries inside and outside Europe to prevent people smugglers making money.’
Terrorism is another area where European cooperation is crucial, he said. ‘The police, security services, armed forces and European alliances must be up to date.’
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