PvdA leader Attje Kuiken thinks that the Rutte IV Cabinet won’t last much longer. “I expect that the Cabinet will fall before we have Christmas,” she said at the Nieuwspoort press center during the opening of the new parliamentary year. “There is nothing more. Listless, despondent. Short fuses, mistrust. You have to dare to do something against that.” according to her, the Cabinet lacks “creativity.”
Kuiken discussed the coming political year during a meeting of the Machiavelli Foundation. State elections are coming up, but the PvdA leader fears the Netherlands will have to return to the polls for parliamentary elections. That while the country needs a decisive Cabinet that can propose structural solutions in the short term, especially for purchasing power, she believes. She called the tax relief package the Cabinet is working on “comprehensive” but also “blunt and brittle.” It will only be available next year and will therefore come too late for people who get into trouble this winter.
Kuiken made these comments a day after Henk Staghouwer resigned as Minister of Agriculture, Nature, and Food Quality. He said he does not consider himself the right person to realize the major turnaround needed in agriculture to achieve the nitrogen targets. ChristenUnie leader Gert-Jan Segers said on Tuesday that the new agriculture minister would again come from his party. “We will find a successor for Henk,” he said, adding that the party is working on it.
Jan Paternotte was also a guest at the opening of the parliamentary year. He acknowledged that it would be “a very stressful winter for many people.” According to the chairman of the D66 faction in parliament, there is now little that the government can do about this because plans must be implementable. According to the Cabinet, its implementing bodies have indicated that they can’t take on any more.
At the gathering, Paternotte especially wanted to emphasize that, as far as he is concerned, the Cabinet must stop “pushing forward” politically sensitive choices. Because as a result, the Netherlands is still too dependent on Russian gas, pursued a nitrogen policy that the court ruled invalid, and the world now faces a climate problem.
“I think the question this year is: do we help people through the winter? That is a crucial one. But also: do we continue to postpone problems because they are complicated? Because there are always reasons to postpone and let them simmer again. Or do we take action and move forward and take responsibility even when it is difficult, even when there is opposition, even when there is resistance to getting it done.” According to Paternotte, this also applies to other problems, like asylum and inequality of opportunity in education. According to the D66, tackling these issues will “require political courage.”
Reporting by ANP
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