Dutch have a new governing coalition

Seven months after the parliamentary elections in the Netherlands, the new governing coalition has presented its programme. Although the coalition agreement between the right-wing liberal VVD, the Christian democratic CDA, the left-liberal D66 and the Christian Union doesn't necessarily reveal a clear political course it could serve as a solid basis for future cooperation, Dutch commentators believe.

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De Volkskrant (NL) /

A patchwork agreement

The representatives of the different parties must have taken turns drafting the coalition agreement, columnist Sheila Sitalsing comments mockingly in De Volkskrant:

“When extremes come together logic sometimes has to give way. And then things get crazy. ... The result is statements like: 'We're for differences but against contrasts.' No doubt the parties spent a long time discussing a sentence like that. ... We find eloquent words about 'our flag, our hymn and our days of remembrance' that are 'not just symbolic relics of the past'. Two sentences further on, however, we are 'deeply embedded' in the European Union, Nato and the UN and we must not 'retire to a self-conceived island'. It's as if they were allowed to take turns composing the sentences.”

NRC Handelsblad (NL) /

The usual small-steps policies

Even if the coalition agreement reflects a marriage of convenience rather than true harmony it could be effective in certain aspects, NRC Handelsblad comments:

“The four parties are not forming a coalition because they share the same convictions but because they have to work together. The consequence is a rather soulless agreement full of concessions on all sides. ... Above all as regards climate change, the agreement is ambitious. That's the way it should be, because the Netherlands is bound by international agreements. But it's still noteworthy that the coalition parties are seeking a leading position in Europe on this issue considering the meagre results achieved so far. ... This will be a cabinet of small steps, as is usually the case in the coalition-prone Netherlands. Nothing spectacular, but hopefully at least effective.”