Rutte wants broad support for budget but left wing says households need much more help
Prime Minister Mark Rutte urgently appealed to "the broad political center" to support the national budget for next year, addressing specifically the PvdA, GroenLinks and ChristenUnie - the parties no longer involved in the coalition formation talks. Whether he will get this support, remains to be seen. The two left-wing parties already prepared their own proposals for the budget, focusing on more support for households.
"We have to work it out together and I feel that responsibility in everyone," Rutte said to NU.nl on Tuesday. "Everyone feels the need to get this done quickly." According to the caretaker Prime Minister, the relationship between the VVD, D66, CDA, PvdA, GroenLinks and ChristenUnie is good, despite cabinet formation talks with the latter three parties falling apart.
Rutte stressed that these parties have a "duty" to show the Netherlands that the political center can still get things done by support the cabinet plans, in exchange for having a say in what the budget will look like. Next year's budget is low on policy, as the Rutte III cabinet is ruling in a caretaker capacity and cannot make any politically sensitive or controversial decisions. So there is room for opposition parties to make their mark.
And GroenLinks and PvdA hope to do just that with four budget proposals. They want to help households by pushing 1 billion euros into increasing purchasing power and by scrapping the landlord's levy. They also want a structural plan to tackle the teacher shortage and higher salaries in primary education to close the wage gap with secondary education. Money for these plans can be raised by increasing corporate taxes and tackling tax avoidance by companies, PvdA leader Lilianne Ploumen and GroenLinks leader Jesse Klaver said to the Volkskrant on Wednesday, ahead of the two-day parliamentary debate on the national budget.
The left-wing parties' fourth proposal is for the cabinet to declare a "climate emergency", as already happened in 38 other countries "from Bangladesh to Japan and from France to Vatican City," Klaver and Ploumen said. Like the coronavirus crisis has an Outbreak Management Team, the cabinet should establish a climate management team to give monthly advice about the climate crisis. Big polluters must pay CO2 taxes, and the money from this must be used to lower energy taxes on households.
The VVD sent parliamentarian Sophie Hermans to the PvdA, GroenLinks and ChristenUnie to find out whether they'd be willing to cooperate. In response, PvdA and GroenLinks said that they do not want to discuss this behind close doors. During the parliamentary debate on the budget on Wednesday and Thursday, it should become clear what Rutte's outstretched hand is worth, they said.
ChristenUnie, which is currently a coalition party and helped draft the budget for next year, said it is willing to cooperate and would like to move the plans a little more in its own direction where possible, according to NU.nl.