Little progress in Dutch govt. formation talks: D66 leader

D66-leader Alexander Pechtold

After a week and a half of negotiations, the VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie have made little progress in forming a new Dutch government together, according to D66 leader Alexander Pechtold. The talks moved by centimeters, rather than meters, he said after Tuesday's negotiations in the Johan de Witthuis in The Hague, reports.

Between the four parties, the D66 and ChristenUnie have the biggest differences in viewpoints on a number of topics, especially concerning medical ethics. The D66 supports, for example, assisted suicide at the end of a complete life, embryo examination and abortion, while the ChristenUnie is against. "I stay alert", Pechtold said. "The differences are great. There are difficult conversations."

ChristenUnie leader Gert-Jan Segers also spoke about the differences. "Some parts come closer together. But there are also a few points that stall. They are difficult knots that still need to be untangled." According to him, there has been progress. 

CDA leader Sybrand Buma and VVD leader Mark Rutte only said that the negotiations will still take some time. "It's a big project with four parties and it is being done very carefully", Buma said. Rutte added: "Step by step."

On Monday and Tuesday the four parties moved their negotiations to the Johan de Witthuis, a few hundred meters from their regular meeting place on the Binnenhof, in the hopes that a change of scenery will lead to new inspiration. There will be no talks on Wednesday and Thursday because the ChristenUnie delegation is going abroad for a trip. Segers and his second, Carola Schouten, will be attending a U2 concert in Berlin, according to