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.
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.
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.
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 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".
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 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.
Spain was hit by two terrorist attacks. The first in Barcelona on Thursday afternoon, the second in Cambrils during the early hours of Friday morning. Thirteen people were killed and over 100 others were injured, including three Dutch, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed. Their condition is not life threatening, NOS reports.
The attack in Barcelona happened around 5:00 p.m. A van drove onto the Ramblas, crashing into dozens of people. Thirteen people were killed and over 100 ended up in hospital, including the three Dutch. The perpetrators fled.
The four parties negotiating forming a new Dutch government together reached a compromise on medical ethics issues, AD reports based on a draft text for the government agreement. It says that the government will not make any proposals to expand the euthanasia law to allow assisted suicide for elderly people at the end of a full life, but will make more stem cell research possible, according to the newspaper.
Negotiators for the VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie seem increasingly optimistic that the four parties will be able to form a government together, from the statements they gave before the start of the talks on Friday, NU.nl reports.
The parties already "ticked off" some issues", VVD negotiator Halbe Zijlstra said. They're "booking real progress in many areas", said ChristenUnie leader Gert-Jan Segers. "We really had a good week." D66 leader Alexander Pechtold added that "the past two days at least were meaningful".
The end of the Dutch government formation talks between the VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie is not yet in sight, the party leaders confirmed on Wednesday following the first day of talks after the summer vacation. The D66 and ChristenUnie are still struggling to agree on issues of "principle" like abortion and assisted suicide.
After a break of almost three weeks, the VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie are meeting today to continue negotiating forming a government together. It's now been 144 days since the government formation talks began. On average, formation talks last 90 days, RTL Nieuws reports.
Negotiators for the VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie seemed carefully optimistic that the government formation talks will come to a good conclusion when they pick up again after the summer break. There is good hope, mediator Gerrit Zalm said after the negotiators parted ways for a two week long break on Wednesday, AD reports.
Today is the 126th day of government formation talks in the Netherlands. And while the formation still seems to be far from over, progress is being made. The financial part of the formation is going so well, that mediator Gerrit Zalm hopes to have this phase finished today, BNR reports.
Once the financial part is complete, the documents can be sent to central planning office CPB to be checked over and credited, and the negotiators can break for summer holiday.
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, NU.nl reports.
The Dutch government formation talks are continuing this week, but not on the Binnenhof. On Monday and Tuesday the leaders of the VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie, and their seconds, will be negotiating in the Johan de Witthuis, a few hundred meters away from their regular meeting place, AD reports.
Mediator Gerrit Zalm hopes that a change of scenery wil bring some new inspiration.
PvdA leader Lodewijk Asscher officially made his party unavailable for government formation talks. "We are not available to help the engine to a majority", he said after speaking with mediator Herman Tjeenk Willink on Tuesday, according to AD. If the 'engine' of VVD, CDA and D66 still want to rule in a four party majority coalition, the ChristenUnie is the only option left to them.
The leaders of the VVD, CDA and D66 want the next cabinet to bind "left and right" together, VVD leader and current Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Tuesday afternoon after the three leaders spoke with formation mediator Herman Tjeenk Willink, AD reports.
In what is believed to be the first substantive progress to government formation in the Netherlands since mid-May, Prime MInister Mark Rutte, the head of the conservative VVD party, is meeting Thursday with political leaders Sybrand Buma (CDA), Alexander Pechtold (D66) and Jesse Klaver (GroenLinks). They will be joined by new coalition mediator Tjeenk Willink, sources have told news agency ANP, the first time the four parties have attempted to break their deadlock in over three weeks.
VVD leader Mark Rutte and GroenLinks leader Jesse Klaver met with mediator Herman Tjeenk Willink at his home on Wednesday in another effort to break through a stalemate that formed around the formation of a new Dutch government. Afterwards neither Klaver nor Rutte would comment on what was discussed, but it is believed that the topic was a restart of negotiations between the VVD, CDA, D66 and GroenLinks, NU.nl reports.