Dutch cabinet formation talks resume after a three-week break

Talks on forming a new government will resume on Wednesday after a three-week break. The Netherlands has been without a new government since the general election on March 15.

Trouw reports that the agenda for today’s meeting will include a variety of proposals drawn up over the summer by former finance minister Gerrit Zalm who is heading up the negotiations.

Sources told the paper that there has been no contact between the parties involved in the talks for the past three weeks. Certainly, there have been no leaks since the talks were halted, Trouw points out.

According to the Financieele Dagblad, the four parties – VVD, D66, CDA and ChristenUnie – will also want to know what progress the unions and employers have made on plans for more pension and labour market reforms.

VNO-NCW chief Hans de Boer and Han Busker of the trade union federation FNV will be invited to attend a session to discuss the issues in the near future, the paper says.

Other complicated issues on the negotiating table include climate change, migration and ethical questions such as euthanasia.

The FD says today’s talks will also include gas production – a key source of government funding – and various experts have been invited to answer questions.

Although the cabinet formation talks are now starting up again, parliament will remain in recess for a further four weeks. The annual budget, which is always presented on the third Tuesday in September, is being compiled by outgoing ministers and will not include any new policy initiatives.