Dutch coalition talks “enter last day”, finances still a problem

Richard van Zwol and Elbert Dijkgraaf talk to reporters after Monday's talks. Photo: Robin Utrecht ANP

The four parties involved in crunch talks on forming a new coalition government in the Netherlands hope to conclude their agreement on Tuesday, although insiders say money issues could still cause problems.

The far-right PVV and pro-farming BBB both made what are considered to be expensive promises in their election manifestos, but the other two parties, the VVD and NSC, back strict budgetary discipline.

The issue of curtailing immigration and reducing refugee numbers is said to have been solved at the weekend, although few concrete details have emerged. 

According to the AD, legislation to ensure all local authorities take their fair share of refugees will be scrapped and the option of declaring the situation to be an official crisis remains on the table. That would enable ministers to take much tougher measures to reduce numbers. 

“Tomorrow will again be a very long day. You can bet on it,” Richard van Zwol, one of the two negotiation leaders, told reporters after Monday’s talks.

Once the four party leaders have finalised their plans, the agreement needs to be voted on by MPs from their four parties. Some MPs are known to have objections in principle to working with the PVV.

Talks on forming a new government have been ongoing for over five months and the negotiators have pledged to present their final report to parliament on Wednesday.

PVV leader Geert Wilders said at the weekend he had found and contacted a suitable candidate for the role of prime minister, but gave no hints as to who it might be.

Conventionally the leader of the largest party in the coalition becomes prime minister, but the four party leaders agreed in an earlier stage of talks that none of them would take up the post.

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