Today the leaders of VVD, CDA and PVV publicly presented the outlines of the government agreement between CDA and VVD and the support agreement between them and the PVV under the motto ‘Freedom and Responsibility’ (p, thanks to DDS).
A Dutch right-wing government: What does that look like? Here are some of the points that may be of interest to an international audience:
The government will employ 3,000 extra police and will nationalize the police force to enable more efficiency. The quota for handing out fines will be abolished. Minimum sentences will be formulated from criminals that commit an offence with a penalty of 12 years prison or more within 10 years after their last conviction. The (in)famous Dutch coffeeshops will become members-only clubs. Only Dutch will be allowed membership.
Immigrants allowed access will start with a temporary of five years. If in that time a crime is committed for which there is a penalty of 12 years in prison or more, citizenship will be revoked and the immigrant will be expelled. Immigration rules will be sharpened with an eye on reducing non-western immigration by 50%. This includes limits on marriage migration, the responsibility to pay for your own integration courses and upping the difficulty level of the exam. Illegal immigration will become a legal offence for which a criminal prosecution can be started. There will be a general ban on the burqa and a ban on wearing a headscarf for police, the public prosecutor’s office and the judiciary. Marriage of cousins will be banned in principal.
Development aid will be reduce from 0.8% of Dutch GDP to 0.7% GDP. Both parliamentary houses will be reduced by a third (50 MP seats in Second chamber, 25 seats in the Senate) to cut government expenses. City, provincial other local councils will also be reduced in size. The budget for Defence will be cut with another 600 million. However, 1 billion extra will be added to the budget for care for the elderly.
The government will work to lower the Dutch contribution to the EUnion. It vowed to work at changing EUnion migration rules to enable a better screening if immigrants. On the other hand it will introduce an energy surcharge to finance subsidies to renewable energy project. While the government is proposing a two-state solution in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it states that it will ‘further invest’ in relations with Israel.
It is a bit of a mixed bag. I don’t particularly like the cuts in Defence or the investment of public money in those infernal ‘green’ renewables schemes. But overall there is a lot to like about the agreements.
The next, and hopefully last, big hurdle will be the CDA party conference. That will be held next Saturday, the exact same day that Geert Wilders has a public engagement in Berlin, in favour of what may become a German sister party to the PVV.
Within the CDA parliamentary fraction there is still discord about the co-operation between CDA, VVD and PVV, with the two remaining dissidents still unwilling to support the agreements on ‘principled grounds’. But if an overwhelming majority at the conference votes in favour of the agreements, there will be nowhere left for them to turn to.
Having said that, the conference is set to become a tense one. The attendance will be three times as large as a regular CDA conference, judging from pre-registrations. The two remaining dissidents and former minister Ab Klink have already requested extra speaking time, as has Justice minister Ernst Hirsh Ballin, another known opponent of the agreements. On the positive side: Most reactions from local CDA chapters are positive (NL). The few negative reactions all have to do with Geert Wilders personally, while still positive about the agreements. So possibly they can be convinced to chose substance over form.