VVD PvdA Government Agreement
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“Getting government finances in order is an absolute priority,” said second-time Prime Minister Mark Rutte, who, along with coalition partner Diederik Samsom of the PvdA, has targeted healthcare, social security and education for cuts. “Everybody will have to make sacrifices,” Samsom said.
For students, that means replacing grants with loans that have to be paid back and no more free travel on the rail network. Also on the chopping block are free school books.
“Scrapping student grants, changing the travel card and scrapping health insurance benefits will cost students some €5,000 a year,” said Thijs van Reekum, chairman of student lobby group ISO.
The new leaders also pledged to raise the legal drinking age from 16 to 18 years old.
Immigration and integration
For migrants and refugees, the new coalition is offering a mixed bag. Amnesty will be granted to all refugee children who have lived in the country for more than five years, settling part of a contentious battle that has been fought out in the country’s municipalities for years. Direct family members will also be allowed to stay with them, removing old obstacles that saw some family members receiving asylum while others were sent across the border.
But immigrants will be excluded from receiving welfare for the first seven years of their residency in the Netherlands, and the residency requirement for both voting in local elections and nationalisation will increase from five to seven years.
A burqa ban will also come into effect in education, public transport, healthcare and in government buildings, where face covering clothing will not be allowed. And any person who wears face-covering clothes will not be entitled to receive social security. And the same sanction will apply to people who don’t speak Dutch: a basic command of the language will be a condition for receiving government money.
But both labour and liberal leaders say the cuts are necessary to ensure that the Netherlands comes out of the Euro crisis strengthened. One of the strongest European economies, the Netherlands is still facing rising unemployment, lower housing prices and a stagnant economy. Siding with Germany, the new government, like its predecessor, is choosing the path of fiscal belt-tightening and deficit reduction.
Under the new economic blueprint, people with higher incomes are expected to bear more of the burden for balancing the budget. Both sides are saying they made concessions in order to “build bridges” between the ideologically opposed pro-labour PvdA and pro-business VVD parties.
In other issues, the Netherlands, which had been considering bidding for the 2028 Olympics (exactly a century after Amsterdam held the games last), will no longer try to host the games. The costs of bidding for and staging them, said the new agreement, is too financially risky and has little public support at the moment.
The controversial “weed pass” will also be scrapped. Dutch officials in the south of the country have instituted an embattled and largely unsuccessful policy whereby cannabis can only be sold to card-carrying Dutch residents. The plan was expected to be rolled out in the rest of the country at the start of 2013.
But under the new proposals, while the weed pass is out, coffee shops that sell cannibis will still be restricted to local residents who have identity cards to prove it.
”I don’t see any difference,” says a man who wants to be identified only as Bob S. He has been selling cannabis at Amsterdam’s Yo-Yo coffee shop for 22 years.
VVD PvdA Government Agreement
1.2 Krijgt u nu meer of minder te besteden?
Door de aanpassingen in het regeerakkoord gaan de koopkrachtplaatjes voor de komende jaren er anders uitzien.
Het ministerie van Sociale Zaken en Werkgelegenheid berekende wat dit voor verschillende huishoudens betekent.
Hieronder ziet u wat de koopkrachtverschillen zijn tussen het oude en het nieuwe regeerakkoord. Dit zijn de effecten van het beleid over de komende vier jaar.