Fact of the Week – Dutch coalition partners reach agreement after record days of negotiations

Dutch coalition partners have struck a government deal after the longest negotiations in Dutch post-WWII history. Exactly 208 days were needed to form the new centre-right government. The coalition will consist of Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s centre-right People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VV), the conservative Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA), the Liberal party (D66) and the Christian democrats (CU). After several disputes related to immigration, tax cuts, and euthanasia, PM Rutte presented the program for the coming years to Dutch Parliament today.

In recent years, the Dutch economy has grown significantly. Dutch GDP has reached 3.3% this year, and is forecasted to remain stable. As a result, the government has decided increase spending. It will spend more on defence, infrastructure, education and development aid. Next to that, it will reform the income tax system back to two scales, and will extend the days of paid paternity leave.

On international affairs, Rutte’s government will plead for a regional response in the European migration crisis, and support the likes of the EU-Turkey refugee deal. It will also be stricter on providing social services to incoming refugees. Next to that, C02 emissions will be cut down considerably to reach international climate targets soon. The new coalition government will pave the way for the introduction of an elected mayor, as well as experimenting with the legal cultivation of weed. Furthermore, the Dutch national anthem will be part of elementary education, in an effort to enhance national identity and to pursue ‘good citizenship’.

The previous record of negotiation days dates back to 1977, when negotiators needed only one day less to reach an agreement. Although a national record, it doesn’t come close the world record. It took the Belgium federal government 541 days to form a government after the 2010 election.