After over 200 days of government formation talks, the Rutte III cabinet's government agreement is as good as done. The VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie reached agreements on the last major issues and the agreement is expected to be presented next week. The new government plans to invest more in education, defense, police and sustainability, the Volkskrant reported on Wednesday night.
Klaas Dijkhoff (VVD) will be the Minister of Defense for the final weeks of the departing government's reign. He is taking over from Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, who stepped down on Tuesday due to a mortar grenade accident in Mali that killed two Dutch soldiers last year. King Willem-Alexander swore Dijkhoff in on Wednesday morning, AD reports.
The Amsterdam faction of the D66 received "guidelines" on how to react when a government agreement between the VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie is finally reached, according to the Telegraaf. "Very positive" is the tone the Amsterdam D66 faction leader would like to see in reactions.
The VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie plan to invest over 2 billion euros into asphalt, public transit and waterways in the coming years, sources confirmed to RTL Nieuws after reports in the Telegraaf.
A large part of that money is destined to address places where traffic jams often arise, for example on the A1, A12 and A12 highways. The new government is also investing 100 million euros into bicycle paths.
Next week Minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert of Defense will face the Tweede Kamer in a debate about a faulty grenade that cost the lives of two Dutch soldiers, and seriously injured a third, in Mali last year.
The Rutte III cabinet will have 16 Ministers and 9 State Secretaries, bringing the total up to 25, sources told newspaper AD. This is quite the turnaround for Prime Minister and VVD leader Mark Rutte, who with his past to cabinets repeatedly spoke about a "smaller and powerful government".
All school children in the Netherlands must visit the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and the Tweede Kamer in The Hague at least once in their school career, according to agreements the VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie made in their government formation talks, sources told the Telegraaf. The parties want to make it mandatory for schools to arrange these trips.
A majority in the Tweede Kamer voted on Tuesday for an emergency legislative proposal to freeze the amount of healthcare own-risk deductibles at 385 euros next year. The Eerste Kamer also voted in the bill later on Tuesday, NU.nl reports.
The new Dutch government is giving an extra 1.5 billion euros to Defense, sources told the Telegraaf based on the financial plans the VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie sent to central planning office CPB. Two thirds of that money is for catching up on overdue maintenance, the rest for investment, according to the newspaper.
That the new government plans to push more money into Defense, comes as no surprise. During the campaigns preceding the parliamentary election in March, all parties except GroenLinks, SP and DENK said they wanted more money to go towards the Dutch armed forces.
The VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie decided not to increase healthcare own-risk deductibles next year, government formation mediator Gerrit Zalm announced in a letter sent at the insistence of the Tweede Kamer. To compensate for that, health insurance premiums will increase by an extra 10 euros per year, RTL Nieuws reports.
The people of the Netherlands are currently not very enthusiastic about the still forming government of VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie, according to a study Ipsos did on behalf of broadcaster NOS. Only a quarter are positive about a government consisting of those four parties, around 33 percent are negative about it and over 40 percent have no strong feelings either way, NOS reports.
Shocked and sad reactions met Amsterdam mayor Eberhard van der Laan's announcement that he is stepping down due to his metastasized lung cancer. Van der Laan (PvdA) announced on Monday afternoon that he is resigning, based on the advice of his doctors. One Amsterdam city council member described the news as "a punch to the face", RTL Nieuws reports.
The VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie - the four parties currently negotiating forming a new Dutch government together - voted against permanently compensating the NIP-test for all pregnant women in the Tweede Kamer on Tuesday, NOS reports. Those four parties together make up a majority in the lower house of Dutch parliament.
The new Dutch cabinet - Rutte III - will have three more Ministers than the current one, according to the Telegraaf. That will bring the total number of Ministers up to 16.
According to the newspapers, the new Ministers will be for Immigration and Integration, Climate Affairs, and Agriculture. Exactly what these portfolios will hold, is still being negotiated in the formation talks between the VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie.
The health insurance premium and mandatory own risk contribution will increase further in the coming years, newspaper Telegraaf and news wire ANP report based on anonymous sources.
People are often unfairly depicted as "angry citizens", CDA leader Sybrand Buma said in the annual HJ Schoo lecture in Amsterdam on Monday. According to him, you can also call the angry citizen an ordinary, frustrated Dutch person who keeps running into walls, RTL Nieuws reports.
Months long talks between the unions and employers about new rules for flexible work and dismissal law, failed. No agreement could be reached. This means that the parties on the government formation table - the VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie - will have to come up with reforms themselves, possibly without the support of the employers and employees, which could cause delays in the government formation, AD reports.
The parties negotiating forming a new Dutch government together are currently talking about scrapping consultative referendums, which means that citizens will no longer be able to give an advisory vote on changes in legislation, RTL Nieuws reports based on sources. The VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie are also negotiating mayoral elections - allowing the residents of municipalities to vote for their mayor, according to the broadcaster.
The VVD and PvdA managed to come to an agreement on increasing teachers' salaries in next year's budget, PvdA leader Lodewijk Asscher announced on Wednesday night. The two parties agreed that a "substantial amount" will go towards teachers in the 2018 budget. With that a government crisis was averted, and the departing VVD-PvdA coalition lives to see another day, AD reports.
The VVD and PvdA may have found a solution to resolving their disagreement about increasing teachers' salaries in the budget for next year, VVD chairman Halbe Zijlstra said before entering the second round of budget talks at the Ministry of Finance on Wednesday afternoon, AD reports.
Exactly what this solution is, he did not say. "We're now going to see if it really is a solution", Zijlstra said to the newspaper.
It's D-day for the VVD and PvdA government. The 2018 budget must be finalized today, so that it can be submitted to the Council of State on Thursday, but the parties are still clashing over salary increases for teachers, the Telegraaf reports.
The compromise reached by the departing government on increasing teachers' salaries, is still on shaky ground. The VVD and PvdA reached an agreement, but formation parties CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie are reluctant to give the go-ahead, AD reports.
The current government plans to make more money available for teacher salaries, primary school education and Defense in a compromise to solve a conflict about teacher salaries between the VVD and PvdA, Prime Minister and VVD leader Mark Rutte confirmed. Though he stressed that there is no deal yet, NU.nl reports.
Dutch food safety authority NVWA is facing fierce criticism in the Tweede Kamer on Thursday. The parliamentarians have nothing good to say about the NVWA's actions in dealing with millions of Dutch eggs being contaminated by toxic insecticide fipronil. In summary, the MPs accused the NVWA of not communicating well, not responding adequately to an anonymous tip about the contamination and having an inadequate setup to deal with such a crisis, NU.nl reports.