Wednesday 18 September 2019

Dutch coalition talks have not yet touched on the future of Europe

The four parties involved in talks to form a new coalition government in the Netherlands have not yet reached a joint position on Europe, ChristenUnie MP Joel Voordewind told a radio programme on Saturday.

‘Europe still needs to be discussed,’ Voordewind told Radio1 programme Kamerbreed, which was discussing Commission chairman Jean-Claude Juncker’s speech on the future of Europe last week.

The ChristenUnie is fairly critical of the EU and does not think it should be expanded, in line with both the Christian Democrats and the VVD. Juncker’s speech, Voordewind said, ‘sent shivers down my spine.’

But D66 MEP Sophie in ‘t Veld told the programme that Europe needs to become more resolute. She criticised prime minister and VVD leader Mark Rutte for not accepting Juncker’s longer-term vision on European integration.

‘Mr Rutte wants more of the same,’ she said. ‘But that will not meet the challenges of today.’

Deals

The Netherlands has been without a new government since the March 15 general election and unless a coalition is agreed before October 9, this will be the longest formation process on record.

Insiders suggest that a new cabinet will not be sworn in before the end of the autumn school holidays which end on October 22 in the south and centre of the country and October 29 in the north.

Refugees

Last week it was reported that the four parties had reached agreement on refugee issues, apart from what to do about the amnesty for child refugees.

D66 leader Alexander Pechtold told reporters on Saturday he considers that the end of the formation process is ‘in sight’, adding that there is ‘still much to be done’.

Once the parties have finalised their financial plans, they can be given to the government’s macro-economic agency CPB which will analyse the proposals for their impact on the government’s finances and the economy.

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