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Confusion all around, one day after the impending crisis in The Hague. Because what happened? And did this political balancing act prevent the government from collapsing, or will it happen later this year?
It started yesterday afternoon. After the cabinet, tensions rose between journalists in The Hague. Normally, after the weekly cabinet meeting, they receive an email with the time when Prime Minister Rutte will hold his press conference, but that has now been postponed.
Prime Minister Rutte (VVD) and Deputy Prime Minister Kaag (D66), Hoekstra (CDA) and Schouten (ChristenUnie) were together to discuss the results of the provincial elections. The massive gains of the BBB in all provinces and the loss of their parties cannot be without consequences.
It was the thousandth time this week that they were together. Something had to be put on paper. Because on Tuesday afternoon is the debate about the election results and the members of the House of Representatives want to know in advance the position of the Cabinet.
The waiting reporters began tweeting:
Meanwhile, various sources have reported to NOS about the compromise reached inside. This led to a message being sent online at about ten to eight, with the conclusion that time had been bought on the nitrogen file to keep the CDA on board. In the title was the word “pause”.
Ten minutes later, in an impromptu press conference, Rota denied there was a crisis or a stoppage. “We’re actually accelerating,” he said. He admitted to having serious talks.
They have led to a convoluted magic formula, which means the cabinet is putting nitrogen policy on the back burner until it is clear what deals the new coalitions will strike in the provinces.
Wait and hurry up?
The journalists present immediately wondered about the story. Because how can the Cabinet wait on the one hand what the BBB will agree on provincial nitrogen, and on the other hand say that nitrogen measures will accelerate? Both can’t be true, right?
Feedback from the “outsider” is also evident. “A hallucination,” GroenLinks leader Klaver called the deal. The reaction of farmers, builders, and nature clubs was also incomprehensible.
Political reporter Zander van der Walb summed it up as follows: “Rutti shrouds himself in ambiguities and contradictions, but the gist is that his government is buying time. We seem to be able to expect a ‘mediator formation’ before the summer, because the CDA has indicated that the willingness to renegotiate later on nitrogen targets.”
Cabinet crisis was averted for the time being: after hours of deliberations, the nitrogen policy stalled
I played hard
The coalition’s hard-won agreement since 2021 says nitrogen emissions must be halved by 2030. The CDA is having a hard time meeting that deadline, because the traditional farmer-county constituency is feeling the pressure and has shifted en masse to the BBB. This rival party insists that the nitrogen deadline is legally set in 2035 and that the coalition itself has pushed it forward.
It seems that the Christian Democratic Party, which fell almost in half in the provincial elections, and currently has the largest loss if the cabinet falls and new elections, played strongly last night.
Tuesday’s parliamentary debate must show whether the coalition parties can keep their story alive.
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