Dutch PM wants a coalition deal with Green Party; Greens stand firm on refugees
VVD leader and current prime minister Mark Rutte is open to restarting government formation talks with the 'engine' of VVD, CDA, D66 and GroenLinks, but only if green leader Jesse Klaver is willing to come to the table without setting any conditions in advance. Klaver sees no point in continuing the negotiations if the VVD and CDA are not willing to compromise on the immigration and asylum seekers policy, NU.nl reports.
Rutte previously said that he doesn't see new talks with GroenLinks starting, but now that the formation reached a deadlock, he is forced to keep the GroenLinks option open. "But that can only be done without conditions", Rutte said after meeting with formation mediator Edith Schippers in The Hague on Friday. "Then you kan talk. It will still be complicated."
The talks with GroenLinks stranded because the party reached its "bottom limit" on the immigration policy. No official details were released, but sources told NRC that GroenLinks could not agree with an asylum deal with African countries similar to the asylum deal between the EU and Turkey. Klaver feels that talks with the VVD, CDA and D66 have no point if the VVD and CDA aren't willing to budge in the green direction on migration policy.
On Friday Schippers spoke to every party leader, either in person or on the telephone. The formation talks stranded completely last week. After negotiations between the 'engine' and GroenLinks fell apart, Schippers has been unable to find any new combination of parties willing to start negotiations. The only option was VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie, but that collapsed before formal negotiations could even begin. D66 leader Alexander Pechtold and ChristenUnie leader Gert-Jan Segers decided after a conversation that the differences between their parties are too big.
Rutte still also sees ChristenUnie as a possible fourth party, as well as SP or the PvdA. "We are willing to negotiate every option except the PVV", he said on Friday. But the SP doesn't want to work with the VVD and the PvdA doesn't want to rule at all after the party's dramatic election defeat.
PVV leader Geert Wilders told Schippers that he is still willing to talk. He suggested to Schippers that the three largest parties after the election - VVD, PVV and CDA - each appoints a mediator to explore the possibilities.
VVD leader Rutte and CDA leader Sybrand Buma both already ruled out working with Wilders and his anti-Islam, populist PVV. Both accuse Wilders of being an unreliable partner in the Rutte I cabinet. And the VVD will not work with the PVV until Wilders retracts statements he made about wanting "fewer Moroccans" in The Hague and the Netherlands during a previous election campaign.
50Plus leader Henk Krol suggested to Schippers that she have every party leader write a government agreement, and then let the other party leaders sign the ones they like best. The agreement that gets the most support, wins.