Recent decisions by the Dutch cabinet, including the mandatory use of face masks on public transport and Wednesday's new economic support package, were met with sharp criticism as MPs offered their feedback in a parliamentary debate on Wednesday afternoon.
The lower house of Dutch parliament debated the current state of affairs around the coronavirus with the cabinet on Wednesday. Parliamentarians wanted to know whether more businesses can be opened before the extended "intelligent lockdown" date of May 20th, and called for more than medical experts to be on the government's Outbreak Management Team, NOS and NU.nl report.
If the government comes up with a new aid package to help companies affected by the coronavirus crisis, stricter conditions much be attached to that aid, according to GroenLinks and the PvdA. Among other things, aid should not go to companies that still pay bonuses to their top, and companies should meet sustainability requirements, the party leaders said on television on Monday evening.
Politicians in The Hague were surprised by Bruno Bruins' resignation as Minister for Medical Care. Many complimented him on his hard work and wished him well and good recovery.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte could count on praise from both opposition and coalition parties for his address to the nation on Monday. In his speech, the Prime Minister warned that coronavirus Covid-19 will be in the Netherlands for some time, and called on Netherlands residents to face this difficult time together.
Parliamentarians from both coalition and opposition parties are worried about the government's decision to keep schools open for the time being.
GroenLinks leader Jesse Klaver wants to put an end to the childcare allowance and the problems it causes by giving each child three days of free childcare per week. The childcare allowance system is far too complicated, he said to RTL Nieuws.
"People first pay money to a childcare organization and then get money back from the government. It is one big hassle", Klaver said, adding that there is a simple solution. "We say: make it free. We as government just have to offer it, just like you do with education."
Time Magazine included GroenLinks leader Jesse Klaver in its Time 100 Next list - a list of 100 people the magazine expects will shape and change the future. This is the first publication of the Time 100 Next list, in addition to the Time 100 list of the most influential people of the moment. Klaver is the only Dutch person on the list.
The provinces of Gelderland, Overijssel and Drenthe followed Friesland's example and announced on Monday that they are reversing the nitrogen measures they announced last week. This happened as hundreds of farmers took their tractors to protest at eight provincial governments. "This is asking for further actions", Jan Brouwer, director of the Center for Public Order and Safety, said to NOS.
The government must allocate extra money to combat the teacher shortage and implement tax reductions for the elderly and people with a low income, according to the PvdA. If that does not happen, the party will vote against the government's tax plan and education budget, PvdA leader Lodewijk Asscher said to NOS.
Increase corporate income tax and the tax on the wealthy to pay for higher wages and a lower workloads in the public sector, left-wing opposition parties GroenLinks, SP and PvdA proposed in a counter-budget to the national budget the Rutte III government presented on Tuesday. "We show that you can make different choices with the same money", SP leader Lilian Marijnessen said to NOS.
Left-wing opposition parties GroenLinks and PvdA are demanding some changes to the Climate Agreement before they will support it in the Senate. "If you think that we are applauding, then you are wrong", PvdA leader Lodewijk Asscher said during the first parliamentary debate on the Agreement on Wednesday, NOS reports. "If there are no concrete solutions, you can forget our support."
The government's plan to increase interest rates on student loans will almost certainly fail in the Eerste Kamer, the Dutch Senate. Former VVD Senator Anne-Wil Duthler is increasingly critical of the plan, and support from the D66 also seems to be crumbling, NOS reports. The student loan system is also causing friction within GroenLinks.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte delayed the publication of the planning offices' climate agreement calculations until after Budget Day, because he thought a debate about the climate would be "undesirable" at this point, Nieuwsuur reports based on documents it received by appealing to the Government Information Act. Opposition parties in parliament are outraged and want a quick explanation from Rutte about the pressure he exerted on the planning offices to delay this publication, NOS reports.
The political composition of the Eerste Kamer, the upper house of Dutch parliament, was made clear on Monday, with both the right wing VVD and far right nationalists FvD holding 12 seats. The ruling coalition parties, CDA, D66, ChristenUnie and Prime Minister Mark Rutte's VVD, kept 32 of their 38 seats.
There are 75 seats in the Eerste Kamer, making 38 the number to reach in order to claim a simple majority.
The results of the European Parliament elections are in, with most of the votes counted. Some parties, like the PvdA and FvD in the Netherlands, are celebrating major victories. Others, like the PVV and SP, are mourning defeats.
PVV leader Geert Wilders is disappointed by the exit polls results for the European Parliament elections. His anti-EU party received 4.1 percent of the votes, compared to 13.3 percent in the previous European elections. That means that his PVV will lose three of its four seats.
FvD leader Thierry Baudet is facing criticism from other party leaders over a video he posted on Twitter. The video features women telling how they were sexually assaulted or raped by migrants and blaming politicians who "refuse to protect our borders", showing photos of GroenLinks leader Jesse Klaver, VVD leader Mark Rutte and D66 leader Rob Jetten at the end.
VVD leader Mark Rutte and Forum voor Democratie leader Thierry Baudet will face off against each other in a debate on television program Pauw on NPO on Wednesday evening. No one else is invited to participate in the debate. Other parties, particularly left-wing GroenLinks and PvdA, are annoyed that only the right and far-right will be represented in this debate on the eve of the European Parliament elections, which are being held in the Netherlands on Thursday.
GroenLinks leader Jesse Klaver believes that the government will opt for cooperation with the left-wing opposition in the new Senate. "The cabinet must choose: is it about the right or about the left? I assume it will opt for the Paris climate goals. That means that cooperation on the right is not an option", Klaver said, ANP reports.
FvD leader Thierry Baudet believes that his party's victory in the Provincial States election is punishment for the "arrogance and stupidity" of the Netherlands' current leaders. In his victory speech he emphasized that FvD is now one of the largest parties in the country, and that a change has been set in motion. "Economic and political capitulation is coming to an end", he said, NOS reports.
On Tuesday evening the 13 political party leaders responded to the shooting in Utrecht, in which three people were killed and three seriously injured, at the start of the last political debate before the Provincial States elections on Wednesday. PVV leader Geert Wilders and FvD leader Thierry Baudet decided to use their moment to blame the attack on Prime Minister Mark Rutte (VVD) and CDA leader Sybrand Buma, linking the shooting to the Netherlands' immigration and integration policy, NOS reports.
The first debate for the Provincial State elections of 20 March, which will ultimately also determine the composition of the Senate, happened on RTL on Thursday. The climate was one of the main points that the leaders of the VVD, CDA, D66, PVV, SP, PvdA and FvD debated, NU.nl reports.
GroenLinks leader Jesse Klaver is demanding that the coalition parties support his legislative proposal for a CO2 tax, in exchange for his party's support on new cabinet plans. "The question is not whether we will help the government to a majority, but whether the coalition will help our plans to a majority", he said at a meetup in The Hague on Monday evening, NOS reports.