The end to Danish: The dry facts

Today the Dutch experiment with the Danish form of government (a minority cabinet with support; in this case a cabinet of VVD and CDA with Wilders’ PVV in support) has ended as the PVV withdrew support. The cabinet now has no majority in Second Chamber and will in all likelihood resign, with elections being planned for (probably September). Thus ends the Danish cabinet.

I’ll have more to say at a later stage (tomorrow, probably, time permitting, Deo volente, etc.), but here’s a dry summation of DutchNews headlines:

Austerity talks collapse as Wilders walks out, election now likely

Austerity talks between the minority coalition and anti-immigration PVV collapsed on Saturday afternoon, when PVV leader Geert Wilders walked out. New elections are now on the cards, prime minister Mark Rutte told reporters.

In a news conference shortly after Wilders left the negotiations, both prime minister Mark Rutte and CDA leader blamed the collapse on the PVV leader.

‘At the last moment, the PVV was shocked about the impact of the consequences of previously made agreements,’ Rutte said. (…)

In a short statement Wilders said he could not accept that pensioners would have to pay for ‘useless’ demands from Brussels. Agreeing with the measures is ‘not in the interest of our PVV voters,’ he said.

What had been agreed? State pension at 66 in 2015, VAT to 21%

The main points of the agreement:

  • The state pension age to go up to 66 in 2015, not 2020 as planned
  • An introduction of a €9 fee for every medical prescription
  • An increase in value-added tax: the low rate to rise from 6% to 7%, the high rate from 19% to 21%
  • A €750m cut on the €4.6bn development aid budget
  • No tax relief on interest-only mortgages
  • A cut of €75m on spending on public broadcasters
  • No change in unemployment benefit or redundancy law
  • An across-the-board salary and benefit freeze, apart from state pensions and incapacity benefit
  • An end to student grants
  • Parental contribution for school books to be brought back
  • An end to the tax break on employee travel costs

Economists fear impact of austerity talks collapse

Economists say the collapse of talks aimed at getting the Dutch economy back on track will impact on the financial markets and could lead to the Netherlands losing its Triple A status, news agency ANP reports.

The alliance with the PVV is over. What happens next?

It is now likely that Rutte will visit queen Beatrix and tender his resignation on Monday. However, there will not be an election before the summer. In Dutch electoral law, there must be some 80 days between the collapse of a government and new elections. Given the summer holidays, it is unlikely the election will be held before September. (…)

Overshadowing the domestic situation is Brussels. A spokeswoman for president of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso said Brussels is following developments in the Netherlands closely.

News agency AP said in its coverage of the crisis that the election will be ‘a referendum on the Netherlands’ relationship with Europe and its ailing single currency’.

The latter point is one worth remembering as we head for September and new elections.

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7 Responses to The end to Danish: The dry facts

  1. First thoughts.

    The PVV is a bit down in the polls at the moment, but there’s nothing like the reality of an election to focus people’s minds, so by early autumn Wilders should be right back in the frame.

    I hope the campaign will also be about the EU and the Dutch state’s relationship with it, although the budget will be the main issue.

    Given that the election result will likely show that votes have centrifuged outwards, I expect the SP and the VVD to both do well, I wonder if the Netherlands will become the new Belgium and struggle to form a government. I just can’t see Roumer and Rutte, leaders of what are likely to be the two biggest parties, being able to agree on how to tackle the budget deficit (unless they simply ignore the 3% rule).

    • Klein Verzet says:

      I agree. But I would add that I think the PVV may be the third big player, next to VVD and SP. Given that the SP also isn’t 100% in love with the EUnion, that would mean the eurosceptic tendency will see a big boost in Dutch politics.

      I think the EUnion will be a big, of not the biggest, issue of the campaign. There is a lot of quiet resentment about the bail-outs of Greece, the shenanigans around the ESM and Merkels Fiskal Kompakt (which, if you think it through, is the sole cause of the fall of the Danish cabinet).

      Wilders took an heroic step in ensuring that it is, by emphasizing the fact that these eye-watering cuts (well, not so much cuts as more taxes and fees) would not have been necessary, were it not for the 3% rule of Merkels Fiskal Kompakt. I found myself (for the first time, even) cheering the man out loud when watching his press statement yesterday.

  2. DP111 says:

    Brussels is following developments in the Netherlands closely.

    You bet. Nothing lie the stoppage of free and easy money, concentrates the mind. My wife and I noted this, when the threat of a reduction in pocket money led to the children lending a hand with the housework, and tidying up their rooms.

  3. Jos says:

    With a 2/3rd majority voting “no” in the eu-referendum some years ago, and the eu turning out to be what is right now, you bet the upcoming electionns in the Netherlands will be about Europe. And the eu-technocrats are right to look closely: they won’t like the result and the signal that will be given to the rest of the eu, in which other countries are stacking up against the eu as well. One may only hope that the end of the eu is near, starting with elections in France and the Netherlands.

    • Klein Verzet says:

      Things are looking up in that regard. More and more economists think the euro cannot survive in its present form. France and Germany are about to tear up the Schengen agreement. The Green Agenda, the central issue around which much EUnion effort is centred, has lost all the credibility it once had.

      And now it looks like NL, together with Germany the biggest proponents of the 3% rule, will not itself abide by it, rendering worthless Angela’s Fiskal Kompakt. It seems that all the EUnions crown jewels are turning into ashes and dust.

      It would seem nigh on impossible to survive a series blows to prestige such as this.

  4. DP111 says:

    The upcoming election in France is important. Even though Marine last in the first round, the strength of the vote for her, has put the cat among the pigeons.

    Notice is served. Its the Fifth republic or the first European caliphate.

    • Klein Verzet says:

      Agreed. The strong showing of Marine Le Pen will determine the direction France will take. The results seem to indicate that in France also the people are increasingly fed up with the unrealistic dreams of the ‘soixant-huitards’.

      And if the signs don’t betray we will see a repeat of this in our damp corner of the world this summer.

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