Prime Minister Rutte is optimistic about the chance that the cabinet will be able to find a solution to a number of complex problems, such as a lower state treasury, extra climate plans, aid to Groningen, the nitrogen impasse and the reception of a larger influx of asylum seekers.
“We spoke well, honestly and intensively in the Council of Ministers,” said the prime minister after this weekly meeting of the ministers of his VVD-D66-CDA-ChristenUnie cabinet. “It went in a good mood. I think we’ll get out.”
All kinds of extra cabinet meetings have already been held this week to reach an agreement on, for example, next year’s budget and the climate plans of Minister Jetten for Climate and Energy. He wants to publish those plans as soon as possible, but that was not possible today because there is disagreement about the contribution that motorists should make.
The D66 minister is thinking of more expensive fuel and a higher purchase tax for petrol cars, but the coalition party VVD does not want that. Rutte thinks that a proposal can come out next week that all parties support. “I think we can take the final steps.”
The talks about a deficit of billions in the current budget under the leadership of Minister Kaag of Finance are also not going well, because nobody wants to look for money in their own budget. This so-called Spring Memorandum should be ready next week, but despite the extra meetings, there is no prospect of an agreement yet.
As of today, the House of Representatives is off for two weeks, but the cabinet will continue to work for another three days. On Tuesday it will be officially announced what the coalition wants to allocate for the compensation of the Groningen victims of the earthquake damage, which is expected to be 20 billion euros. Rutte and State Secretary Vijlbrief of Mining will go to Groningen on Tuesday to present the plans there.
The Council of Ministers is on Wednesday and then the climate plans and the Spring Memorandum could come out, Rutte thinks. He acknowledges that there are political differences, but considers that normal. Every political party wants to push its own ideas through as much as possible. “Every discussion touches where you stand as a party.”
Rutte does not want to know anything about speculations in The Hague whether the cabinet may fall. “I think it will work, but it has only succeeded when the knots have been made.”
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- The cabinet comes up with 20 billion euros for Groningen, considerably less than requested