ANP Mark Rutte is questioned in the House of Representatives
NOS Nieuws•vandaag, 18:09
The week after the election victory of the BoerBurgerBeweging, the coalition tries to find an answer to the question: what now? Should the coalition agreement be broken up and should the nitrogen plans be softened? Or should the cabinet pull the plug, as advised by BBB leader Caroline van der Plas?
At the CDA, which received a major blow, they have been in constant consultation since the results of the provincial elections. Yesterday, the parliamentary party had “a long, difficult and sometimes emotional meeting”, said party chairman Pieter Heerma this morning. And today that discussion continues.
Nitrogen is one of the most important dossiers on which something must be done, Heerma emphasized once again before the start. Since the elections, he says, there is a “new political reality”. BBB achieved a huge victory, not least because that party is strongly opposed to the cabinet’s plan to reduce nitrogen considerably in the coming years.
From 2030 to 2035
The CDA, which traditionally stands up for farmers’ interests, has been saying for some time that the chosen path of halving emissions in 2030 is not the right one. Shouldn’t the coalition agreement be broken up to make it 2035? And the possibility of forcibly buying out farmers is also bad.
But what exactly the stake will be, the party has not yet decided. Tonight, the CDA top has a crisis meeting at a secret location with, among others, the regional chairmen, many of whom are critical of the nitrogen plans.
Undoubtedly, the cabinet participation in itself and the position of party leader Wopke Hoekstra are also discussed there. Hoekstra’s role does not seem to be under immediate discussion – the faction and the party chairman rallied behind him yesterday – but here and there (prominent) CDA members doubt whether he is the right man to bridge the gap between The Hague and the rest of the cross country.
We don’t suddenly find something different a week after the elections than a week before the elections.
Jan Paternotte (D66)
In the coalition, the CDA mainly opposes D66 when it comes to nitrogen. That party is harnessed and sees nothing (yet) in adjusting the coalition agreement. “We don’t suddenly find something different a week after the elections than a week before the elections,” said party chairman Jan Paternotte after D66 party consultations.
The coalition agreement containing the year 2030 must remain intact as far as Paternotte is concerned, despite “this bit of headwind”. Only time will tell how his point of view compares to that of the CDA, said the D66 member. “They have a lot of internal consultations at the CDA, I think it’s good that I won’t be among them.”
The VVD also discussed the election results in the group this morning, and the group chairman there also believes that the CDA should be given time. “Every coalition party can say: dude, I want to talk about that,” said Sophie Hermans, referring to breaking open the coalition agreement. “But that hasn’t happened so far.”
Pull the plug, says BBB leader Van der Plas:
Van der Plas after ‘friendly’ conversation with Rutte: ‘cabinet, pull the plug’
The cause of the coalition unrest wanted to venture today to predict the outcome. “My expectation is that the coalition will not come out,” said BBB leader Van der Plas after a meeting with Prime Minister and VVD leader Mark Rutte. On her initiative, the two had lunch today in the Wassenaar restaurant De Landbouw, which was not chosen by chance. It had been “a nice” conversation, is about all Rutte wanted to say about it.
The BBB forewoman was more talkative: “The cabinet is going to clap anyway.” Van der Plas predicted that new parliamentary elections will be held before the end of the year, because D66 and CDA are too far apart, according to her. In the coming period, she will therefore keep a “very close” eye on what the coalition is doing.
Because whether the cabinet falls over nitrogen is up to the coalition itself. In the meantime, the discussion is already underway within the cabinet, as it turned out this morning around cabinet meetings. Minister of Agriculture Piet Adema (Christian Union) kept a low profile about its content. “There is a situation where we have to talk about things in cabinet, about changing things,” he said. “But that has to happen in the bosom of the cabinet.”
His VVD nitrogen colleague also said once again that “the conversation is now being conducted”. But the content must remain within four walls for the time being, because too much openness is, according to Christianne van der Wal, “not subservient to the process”.
CDA minister Hugo de Jonge (Public Housing) emphasized that a possible departure of his party from the cabinet would not serve the process either. The CDA wants to act responsibly and not just walk away, his words showed. “A coalition is always a marriage of convenience, it is never easy.”
How stable that marriage is remains to be seen. The answer will probably not come before many consultations have been held about whether or not to adjust nitrogen plans, about the parties’ course and about gaps that need to be bridged.
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