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.
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.
Former GroenLinks politician Femke Halsema denied rumors that she is a contender for Amsterdam's next mayor on television program Buitenhof on Sunday. She finds the question of who will be Amsterdam's mayor now that terminally ill Eberhard van der Laan stepped down "very uncomfortable", AT5 reports.
"This is really not in order", Halsema said on Buitenhof. "There is no vacancy. We have a sick mayor. That is already sad enough." She called questions on this topic "really very unpleasant".
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 mortar grenade that killed two Dutch soldiers during a training exercise in Mali last year was one of a thousand grenades that were unsafe - something the Ministry of Defense was aware of, Jean Debie, chairman of defense union VBM said to RTL Nieuws. If Defense followed its own safety procedures, 29-year-old Henry Hoving and 24-year-old Kevin Roggeveld would still be alive, Debie said. A third soldier sustained serious injuries.
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.
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.