Wednesday 01 February 2023

The ‘social agreement’: what the papers say

The agreement on economic reform reached by unions and employers has raised a lot of doubts in Friday’s newspapers, with leader writers warning the cabinet may have been weakened by the deal.

The Telegraaf is very criticial of the agreement. ‘What is most worrying is that the cabinet has weakened while carrying out its most important task – getting the treasury in order,’ the paper wrote. ‘That is unworthy of a cabinet led by the VVD.’

In its analysis, the Volkskrant said the deal is painful for the government because some of its plans are being changed drastically. A direct consequence is that the budget deficit will not hit the eurozone limit of 3% next year. The government is shifting the pain until later, the paper says.

The AD praises the speed at which the two sides have reached agreement. Nevertheless, few problems have been solved and the only real achievement is delaying reforms until 2016, the paper points out. ‘Unions and employers have done their bit, but the cabinet now has to take over,’ the paper said.

Trouw asks if the deal will be the great success the coalition hopes it will be. The cabinet is gambling on this deal bringing a sense of calm and trust.

But by delaying the reforms, the cabinet is also gambling with the support of the D66 Liberals, the paper points out. ‘Rutte will now have to hope for the support of the Christian Democrats,’ the paper says.

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