Dutch still without a government

Three months after the parliamentary elections in the Netherlands a second attempt to form a government has failed. The liberal VVD, the social liberal D66, the Christian democratic CDA and the left-wing Greens were at the negotiating table. Dutch commentators criticise the parties for lacking the will to work together.

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NRC Handelsblad (NL) /

Parties flirting with populists

All the parties involved are to blame for the failure of the coalition negotiations, NRC Handelsblad complains:

“The Hague can't simply raise a drawbridge separating the Dutch fortress from the rest of the world, as [right-wing populist] Wilders would like to do. Yet the VVD and CDA are flirting with correspondingly harsh phrases for electoral reasons. A cooperation between these parties and the Greens, however, would be nothing short of political suicide. ... Three months have passed since the general elections. The elections in Britain, France and soon in Germany are rapidly changing Europe. ... The excuse that government negotiations are a valuable element of our parliamentary culture no longer holds water. [Prime Minister] Rutte is right: the nation's interests must now override those of the parties.”

De Volkskrant (NL) /

Voters can expect better than this!

De Volkskrant also criticises a lack of real pragmatism in the parties' approach:

“If true political will had existed it would have been possible to reach a compromise on the migration issue. … The VVD, CDA and D66 should have known that the continued, controlled intake of refugees by the Netherlands would be non-negotiable for the Greens. But clearly the will to work together wasn't that strong. … Now it's time to adopt a pragmatic approach. … That's the least the voters can expect after 90 days.”