BBB and GroenLinks set to form administration in Noord-Holland

Main square in Haarlem Photo: Holland Media Bank
Main square in Haarlem Photo: Holland Media Bank

Negotiators say there is a ‘fair chance’ that farmers’ party BBB and environmentalist GroenLinks can overcome their differences to head a provincial administration in Noord-Holland.

The two parties hold diametrically opposing views on key issues such as the buyout of farms to meet emissions targets and renewable energy, but their leaders said they were prepared to make compromises.

The two informateurs appointed to sound out possible coalitions following the provincial elections in March said in their report to the provincial assembly that a four-way combination of the BBB, GroenLinks, the right-wing liberal VVD and the Labour party (PvdA) was viable.

‘Clearly there are differences in some areas, but we believe these can be overcome,’ they wrote.

The duo, former VVD minister Ankie Broekers-Knol and former PvdA mayor of Haarlem Bernt Schneiders, will stay on to lead talks aimed at forming a coalition of the four parties, who hold 30 of the 55 seats in the assembly.

The BBB took the the largest share of the vote in the election and have eight seats. The VVD also have eight, while PvdA and GroenLinks have seven each. The largest opposition parties would be D66 and the animal rights party PvdD, each with four.

Anouk Gielen, leader of the GroenLinks group, told the Volkskrant: ‘Everyone can see that GroenLinks and BBB is not the most logical combination at first glance. But it appears we are able to find agreement and make compromises. I’m confident about it.’

The situation is in masked contrast to Utrecht province, where the BBB has been shut out of negotiations despite being the largest party after a proposed seven-way coalition collapsed within hours.

The ChristenUnie said it was unable to support the BBB and the right-wing JA21 because of the parties’ different views on wind turbines, which are a major issue at provincial level.

GroenLinks, which is the second-largest party, is now looking to lead a coalition in Utrecht without the BBB after the two parties said last week their differences were ‘irreconcilable’.

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