The serious talks begin: new Dutch cabinet could be reality before summer

Getting down to business – the cabinet negotiations begin. Photo: Phil Nijhuis / HH

There will be no new Dutch cabinet in the next couple of weeks but there could be one before the summer parliamentary recess, negotiator Edith Schippers said on Wednesday.

Talks are currently underway between the VVD and D66 Liberals, the Christian Democrats and the left-wing green party GroenLinks on forming a new administration following the March 15 election.

One of the first priorities, Schippers told reporters on Wednesday, is to formulate a general mission for the new cabinet. ‘But we are also discussing subjects in greater detail,’ she said. ‘I am going to talk to the teams in the next few days and then we will know more about what will happen when.’

All four parties have already warned that there are major differences between them. Climate change, immigration and integration and income policy are among the topics with most diverse views.


On Friday, the various party leaders and Schippers will speak to officials from the Dutch central bank, the finance ministry’s most senior civil servant and the macro-economic planning agency CPB. On Monday, they will hold talks with the SCP social and cultural policy think-tank and the environmental assessment agency.

Schippers said she will update the press on a weekly basis from next Thursday but will not go into details. ‘Negotiating is a precarious business,’ she said. ‘If a party makes a concession and that becomes public, the picture of what is happening becomes distorted.’

The longest cabinet formation process to date lasted 208 days.

If a deal is reached before the summer, the new government will be able to draw up 2018’s spending plans for presentation in September.