After 208 days of negotiations, the new Dutch government coalition of VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie can almost take office. On Monday the negotiators of the four parties presented their new government agreement to their parliamentary factions, and all four parties approved it. It will be presented to the press and the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, later today, according to RTL Nieuws.
"Confidence in the future" is the motto of Prime Minister Mark Rutte's new government, the Rutte III cabinet, RTL Nieuws reports. The motto will be officially announced when the government agreement is presented. The expectation is that this will happen on Tuesday.
D66 leader Alexander Pechtold will not be a Minister in the new Dutch government, he confirmed to RTL Nieuws. He is staying as D66 leader in the Tweede Kamer, because that is better for "the stability of the new coalition" and being party leader in parliament gives him a bit more room on the home front, he said.
The VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie are now really very almost done with their government agreement, ChristenUnie leader Gert-Jan Segers said to NOS on Friday afternoon. But he thinks the four parties will have to meet again on Monday.
There will be no meetings over the weekend. The ChristenUnie respects the Sunday rest. "And on Saturday I have other plans", Segers said to the broadcaster.
The new Dutch government plans to limit gender registration and work gender-neutrally as much as possible, sources confirmed to RTL Nieuws. Article 1 of the Dutch Constitution will be supplemented to specifically prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.
The new Dutch government is making 170 million euros extra available for early learning disability detection in very young kids, sources told the Telegraaf.
With the extra money, the youngest toddlers, from 2.5 years, can spend more time at day care or play groups. The older kids in groups 1 and 2 will get more lessons, mostly focused on language problems. Lessons in these groups will increase from 10 hours per week to 16 hours per week.
Nearly seven months after the parliamentary elections, the negotiators of the VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie are finally done with their new government agreement, formation mediator Gerrit Zalm announced on Monday. The agreement was sent to the four parties' parliamentary factions, which have the rest of Monday to read through it, ask questions and make comments, NU.nl reports.
The new Dutch government is implementing an hourly minimum wage of between 15 and 18 euros for meal deliverers, cleaners and other freelancers or self-employed who work at a low rate, RTL Nieuws reported after getting a look at the VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie's plans for freelancers.
Unlicensed escort agencies and pimps in the Netherlands will soon face criminal prosecution, according to agreements made by the VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie in their government formation talks, RTL Nieuws reports. The new government wants a harsher approach to illegal prostitution as part of the fight against human trafficking, sources confirmed to the broadcaster.
Under current Dutch law, illegal prostitution companies can get an administrative fine for working without a license. In the future they will face criminal prosecution, with prison being a possible punishment.
The new Dutch government is planning an experiment with regulated cannabis cultivation, to see if this legal cultivation will decrease organized crime and increase the safety of cannabis in the country. In the experiment, the government will give one organization a government license to grow cannabis, which will be distributed in six to 10 municipalities, RTL Nieuws reports.
As the new Dutch government prepares to present its government agreement, more and more of the VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie's plans are leaking to the press. On Monday we've learned that the new government plans more changes to the asylum policy and is giving more money to security.
The Rutte III government is changing the immigration policy, specifically they're limiting immigrants' access to benefits. The VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie are also increasing the low VAT rate from 6 percent to 9 percent, RTL Nieuws reports.
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.
Defense Minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert (VVD) resigned on Tuesday evening, after hours of debate in the Tweede Kamer about the Dutch Safety Board's report on the deaths of two Dutch soldiers deployed to a UN mission in Mali last year. Henry Hoving and Kevin Roggeveld were killed when a mortar grenade exploded while still in the firing tube during training.
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.
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.