In November, we wrote about the “turbulent saga” that the Netherlands was facing as its four main political parties were failing to form a coalition government, leaving the Netherlands without a government for almost a year.
However, recent negotiations, which began on 5th December, seem to have yielded concrete results. The VVD, CDA, D66, and ChristenUnie have finally agreed on forming a government. The parties presented a document to the parliament on Wednesday 15th December entailing their future plans not only for recovery but also to include new initiatives. The document includes the following targets.
One of their objectives is to raise the minimum wage by 7.5%. This will increase the minimum wage to about €10.80 per hour.
Perhaps one of the most significant projects the government has is to cut greenhouse emissions by 55% of 1990 levels by 2030 to tackle climate change. This will be funded through two long-term funds worth €60bn altogether and further supplemented by more subsidies for better-insulated homes, more infrastructure for electric vehicles, a “pay-as-you” drive tax, and the opening of two new nuclear power plants.
The government has decided to tackle the housing crisis in the Netherlands by drawing up plans to build 100,000 more affordable homes per year, 15,000 of which will be dedicated for students, migrants, labour migrants, and others in “urgent need”. The government is also planning on abolishing the current €100,000 tax-free donations from parents to their sons and/or daughters intended on helping them invest in a house.
The government has plans for the education system as well. First and foremost, the government plans on reforming the current student loans system by reintroducing the previously abolished student grants, starting from the academic year 2023-24. It also plans on compensating and providing discounts on the debt of many students who accrued it under the current system. Furthermore, it is eager to close the pay gap between primary and secondary education systems.
Many are hopeful that the new government and its plan will work as expected. Prime Minister Rutte has claimed the deal to be a “good agreement” and the D66 leader, Sigrid Kaag described it as “a fine, balanced agreement.” On the other hand, since the current government does not have a majority in the upper house, it means that the new coalition is particularly vulnerable to having its ambitions blocked by the opposition. Ron Fresen, a NOS commentator, claimed that the coalition must focus not only on recovery after the pandemic but also on dealing with previously neglected problems, such as gaining back public trust.
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