Differences still “considerable” after 10-hour days of talks

Pieter Omtzigt after Wednesday's talks. Photo: Robin Utrecht ANP

Thursday had been earmarked as crunch day for the ongoing coalition formation talks but three 10-hour days of negotiations earlier in the week failed to bring sufficient progress and the meeting will now resume on Friday.

There are still “considerable differences of opinion” about multiple themes, Pieter Omtzigt, leader of the NSC, told reporters on Wednesday night. Omtzigt declined to go into details but did say he was “tired” after a few long days of negotiations.

Earlier on Wednesday BBB leader Caroline van der Plas had said she hoped an agreement would be reached that day. Her words, said Omtzigt, were premature.

The lead negotiators Richard van Zwol and Elbert Dijkgraaf are due to hand their report over to parliament on May 15 and Dijkgraaf told reporters on Wednesday evening that “certainly” the formation process could still fail.

“You can’t say we have reached a stalemate but there are a number of difficult issues we need to deal with and it remains to be seen if we can,” Dijkgraaf said.

Immigration and asylum, government finances and farming are among the issues where the four parties are still divided.

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