Christian party leader boycotting every green initiative, frustrating Dutch gov't formation: report

CDA leader Sybrand Buma. (CDA leader Sybrand Buma)

The CDA is causing annoyance at the government formation negotiation table because party leader Sybrand Buma is saying 'no' to almost every proposed climate measure, sources around the negotiations told newspaper AD. 

According to the newspaper, the negotiations between the VVD, D66, GroenLinks and CDA are particularly difficult on climate policy, largely due to Buma's attitude. He is refusing to discuss any form of climate measure that affects citizens' wallet. This includes things like the 'green' taxes GroenLinks proposed - meat tax, packaging tax and higher taxes on driving and air travel.

VVD leader Mark Rutte on the other hand, is surprisingly willing to make compromises and commitments in this area, the sources say. While the right-wing part of the VVD is particularly skeptical about forming a government with GroenLinks, Rutte is being "pragmatic" on the negotiation table in the hopes of reaching a ruling agreement, according to AD. "Rutte wants to make deals, but Buma is constantly difficult. As a result, Rutte is shifting towards the more 'green' parties", the newspaper quotes an unnamed source.

Former prominent CDA member Herman Wijffels called on Buma to change his strategy. In an interview with AD he said that he also heard that Buma is blocking progress on climate policy. "That man gives absolutely nothing on the sustainability issue. If that remains the case, the CDA should just go to the opposition", he said..

On Wednesday opposition parties PVV and SP called on negotiation leader Edith Schippers to give them more information about the progress of the negotiations. The call was supported by the PvdA, 50Plus, DENK, ChristenUnie, SGP and PvdD. Among other things, they want to know how long the negotiations are going to take and on what points agreements have been made. 

The negotiating party leaders are against the idea of releasing more information, according to NOS. In the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, they said that they understand where the request is coming from, but find it unwise and senseless to provide information before solid decisions are made. They emphasized that they will explain themselves afterwards. Buma pointed out that four very different parties are involved in the negotiations and that time is needed. Rutte agreed that the negotiations are complex. "If you give interim reports, the chances that the negotiations will be successful reduce significantly." D66 leader Alexander Pechtold and GroenLinks leader Jesse Klaver agreed.

Nevertheless, Schippers agreed to send a letter to the Kamer on the process of the negotiations.