The parties formed Rutte IV want to close the wage gap between teachers in primary and secondary education by increasing the salaries of teachers in primary education. VVD, D66, CDA and ChristenUnie also want to draw up permanent plans from the National Education Program, the billion-dollar plan put in place during the coronavirus crisis to reduce educational defects.
Insiders Subscribe Norwegian Refugee Council This agreement was reached on these plans. On Thursday evening, negotiators spoke with informants Johan Remix (VVD) and Watter Colmes (D66). They confirmed in a letter to the Speaker of Parliament on Thursday that the four parties want to present their coalition agreement before the Christmas holidays. It will be early next week after the groups have given their consent, participants reported.
The Rutte IV locker couldn’t start with this. It is expected to be discussed by the lower house in the same week, after which VVD leader and outgoing Prime Minister Mark Rutte can form a new government as coordinator. At the beginning of January, a new team of ministers could be on the stage.
Money as a solution to problems
With completion approaching the end of a long formation: It is Friday 268 days after the March 17 elections. The formation was delayed for several months due to turbulent relations and doubts about Rutte’s position as prime minister in a new government. It wasn’t until the end of September that a turning point ensued.
Money has turned out to be the answer to many problems, according to several insiders. Funds to help companies transition to the environment. Money to buy farmers at a reasonable price. Money to build additional homes. As well as funds for structural expenses. Seems like something for everyone.
At the end of November, the Norwegian Refugee Council had already reported that the four parties would like to borrow and allocate tens of billions to create two large funds to cover one-time expenses. One of the funds focuses on climate policy. The four parties want to adjust the climate target upwards and are providing a lot of additional money for this. The new cabinet could use the other fund to tackle the nitrogen crisis, for example by buying farmers on a large scale.
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Participants now report that the four coalition parties are also looking for a large one-time amount of money for housing. In recent years, the government has repeatedly allocated funds to accelerate and support construction, for example for infrastructure around large new construction areas. There will now be a sequel.
Non-recurring expenditures are characterized as not structurally contributing to the national debt. It will rise rapidly in a short time, but remain stable afterwards. So the government does not have to make drastic cuts to balance them.
However, not all major expenses are one-time, as education plans show. The four parties formed would also like to provide additional funds for the defense. This proposal has already appeared in joint drawings by VVD and D66 first and then VVD and CDA.
Those involved tell NRC that the coalition in the pipeline aims to deliver a full coalition agreement in one go. In recent weeks, the plan has often been circulated to first come to an agreement in broad outlines – the “what” and “why” – and then ministers can fill in the details – the “how”. It now appears that the four parties are deviating from that, although insiders stress that the agreement to be presented next week will not be detailed.
A large group of ministers
There also appears to be an agreement on the distribution of ministerial positions. There will be twenty ministers in the Rutte IV government, divided by party size: eight for VVD, six for D66, four for CDA and two for ChristenUnie. In addition, there will be ten ministers of state.
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In the division that was still on the table Thursday evening, the Community Development Authority will not receive the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sports again. This means that Minister Hugo de Jonge (Public Health) cannot return to this position. The party is still debating whether – and if so, where in the cabinet – De Jonge will return.
The coming days will also show whether the party leaders of the formed parties will sit in the Cabinet or remain in the House of Representatives. CDA Insiders report that Wopke Hoekstra has already made that choice: He’s going back to the Treasury.
A version of this article also appeared on NRC on the morning of December 10, 2021
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