Immigration, nitrogen, and other issues make 2023 an exciting political year

Immigration, nitrogen, and other issues make 2023 an exciting political year


NOS News

  • Joss Ditforst

    Political editor

  • Joss Ditforst

    Political editor

The war in Ukraine dominates everything. Europe fears escalation and energy is still very expensive. Moreover, nitrogen is still being deposited in Dutch nature, climate targets to combat global warming need to be met, and elections will be held soon. Then there is the increased immigration.

These are major issues for politics in The Hague, so 2023 is expected to be an exciting political year.

About the first item on the agenda is the gas survey report. At the end of February, the parliamentary inquiry into natural gas extraction in Groningen will produce its results, following hearings of victims, civil servants, politicians and others involved last fall.

The survey showed that money was an important motive for the state to continue extracting gas for a long time. Prime Minister Rutte also acknowledged in his questioning the seriousness of the situation in Groningen late reached him.

Rutte locker fall 3

We do not know how difficult the committee’s conclusions were, nor what the consequences would be. But the parliamentary inquiry is a heavy tool. The previous mini-survey on the issue of benefits led to Rutte locker fall 3.

Another difficult political issue is immigration. In the past year chaos has been at the center of Ter Apel’s applications, Foreign Minister Van der Burgh having to beg for places to sleep and tensions running high in the coalition.

There is no indication that this year will be any different. Immigration to Europe always increases in the spring and the Dutch system has not yet been adapted. The law that should better distribute asylum seekers across the country has not yet been implemented and the restrictions on family reunification put in place by the coalition is at odds.

In the meantime, there aren’t many more reception sites available than last year, when people sometimes had to sleep outside. In fact, a number of large sites will be closing this spring because their contract is expiring.

It’s basically up to the coalition to come up with something about it, but so far there’s only been a non-binding conversation last week. in the cat’s house. After the county council elections on March 15, the parties involved want to keep talking when the influx of asylum seekers starts again.

The coalition parties are divided among themselves. VVD and CDA want to limit the flow. The leader of VVD Rutte has his own faction insured To consider, but containment is a sensitive issue for D66 and ChristenUnie.

Kees Van de Ven

Crowds in front of the entrance to the application center in Ter Apel, last September

The latter two disagree with each other on labor migration. ChristenUnie wants to organize more and aims for an indicative number, while D66 insists that migrant workers are badly needed due to a shortage in the labor market. “If the government falls for something, it’s immigration,” it sounds here and there.

Tractors and hay bales

Nitrogen is a topic closely related to elections. The Hague will set reduction targets this year and before summer the provinces should have figured out how they will meet the targets. Whether the county wants to cooperate and how it is affected by the composition of the county government. In other words: without a willing boycott, The Hague could not achieve much. Herein lies the importance of parliamentary elections in national politics.

Treasury, meanwhile, is devising an approach to peak loaders (companies that cause a lot of nitrogen deposition where that’s not the intention). The goal is to create space for nitrogen as quickly as possible, but it is still not clear how concrete this plan will be.

However, it seems almost certain that unrest will arise with the ultimate question of who should be forced to stop. It is feared that anything resembling “packing” will lead to tractors and bales in unwanted places. This is an unattractive prospect for the government.


Ministers Adema (left) and Van der Waal in the House of Representatives

Then there is the division in the Ministry of Agriculture. While Nitrogen Minister VVD Van der Wal wants to keep up the pressure, ChristenUnie’s new Minister of Agriculture, Adema, wants to keep the agricultural sector involved. This is contrary to haste. All in all, enough ingredients to make nitrogen a hot topic this year as well.

The bottom of the cabinet

What nobody wants to do (publicly) right now is talk about the growing fiscal deficit. However, this should be considered in the near future, because the bottom of the cabinet is increasingly looming. VVD is known to see more in austerity and D66 and ChristenUnie more in tax increases. It is not yet clear how the parties want to solve this problem and what amounts are involved.

This is mainly because it is not yet known how big the hit will be, and in part because energy cap costs are not fixed. In the spring, the coalition should show its colors (to a greater or lesser extent), because then the Cabinet will issue the Spring Memorandum. This allows the current budget to be modified.

polling booth

But before that happens, the provincial council elections will be held on March 15. The Hague is looking forward to the new composition of the Senate. The distribution of seats comes from the newly elected regional council. So you could say that the polling chamber determines what the Senate looks like.

It will be some time before the voter is allowed to vote, but the ballot does not bode well for the coalition. VVD, D66 and CDA suffer a big loss, only the smallest partner ChristenUnie is the stable in the number of seats. Opposition parties BBB and JA21 are correct on big profit.

The coalition does not already have a majority in the Senate and must therefore seek support for each topic from other parties such as GroenLinks and PvdA on the left or JA21 on the right. It can become difficult to find a majority after the election, so often (or more often) water has to be added to the wine. This affects the strength of the alliance.

Enough problems, and then other important issues such as climate, low confidence in politics, housing shortages and increasing polarization have not even been addressed. Not to mention what will come unexpectedly to The Hague.

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