‘The coalition parties must take the BBB and its positions very seriously’

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‘The coalition parties must take the BBB and its positions very seriously’

The result of the provincial elections felt like a political landslide after the BoerBurgerBeweging won. The coalition parties are meeting today to discuss how to deal with this strong signal from voters. ‘In the first instance, the government should take the BBB and its positions very seriously and not approach it in a derogatory way,’ advises Professor of Public Administration Jouke de Vries of the University of Groningen.

The coalition parties are meeting today to discuss how to deal with the results of the Provincial Council elections. (ANP / ANP)

According to De Vries, the cabinet now has a number of options. The first option is to continue with what they were already doing, because it concerned the Provincial Council elections. ‘But it is abundantly clear that people are not satisfied with the government’s policy,’ says the professor of Public Administration. ‘Another option is to change and change current affairs in the meantime, then you can continue.’ The third option is that a cabinet crisis is imminent, resulting in the fall of the cabinet.

To prevent this, De Vries thinks it would be best to go for option two: breaking open the coalition agreement. But D66 is not keen on that. One of the hottest issues is the nitrogen problem and D66 is sticking to the year 2030. The BBB, on the other hand, wants those plans off the table. According to De Vries, this point of view can no longer be ignored due to the enormous profit of that party in the elections.

Refrigerator politics

According to the professor of public administration, it would in any case be better to create a single ministry of agriculture. ‘Now you have both the nitrogen minister and the agriculture minister, so the tension is ingrained in the compromise. One minister has to formulate a vision and the other has to make difficult decisions’, explains De Vries.

“In this situation it is more difficult to conduct such ‘refrigerator politics'”

Jouke de Vries, Professor of Public Administration at the University of Groningen

But the nitrogen dossier is not the only divisive issue within the cabinet. For example, there are other headaches such as migration and the housing shortage that the coalition parties must address. ‘In the past, these complicated issues were often handed over to various administrative organisations, because then the government could gain time,’ explains De Vries. “But in this situation it is increasingly difficult to conduct such ‘refrigerator politics’.”

Take seriously

In order not to lose face with the voter, the cabinet must therefore take steps. The first step is to recognize the resounding electoral victory of the BBB, says De Vries. “I think Caroline van der Plas should be taken more seriously than people often do within the existing power.”

In addition, according to the professor, it is wise to delete the year 2030, because ‘you cannot implement such major changes so quickly and now you are completely stuck’. Thirdly, De Vries advises the cabinet to stop talking about the Expropriation Act. ‘Political history shows that if you introduce that law, in many cases a cabinet crisis will follow.’


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