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From The Hague to Brussels: The New Dutch Government and its European Impact

On Wednesday, November 22, 2023, Dutch voters cast their ballots in the general election, marking a significant shift in the political landscape. Beating all predictions, Geert Wilder’s far-right Freedom party (PVV) sealed a shock win gaining more than double the seats secured in the last general election. After six months of intense negotiations, Wilders finally managed to reach a deal to form a coalition with three other right-wing parties: The Peoples Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), New Social Contract (NSC) and the Farmer Citizen Movement (BBB). This coalition between the four parties formed what is the most right-wing governing coalition in recent Dutch history. As a part of European Diplomats, we closely monitor and analyse the impact of political shifts on EU policies, including the recent election in the Netherlands. What should Brussels expect from the new Dutch government and what does this mean for the future of the EU? 

Firstly, migration will be a significant topic for Wilder’s coalition as it was one of the priority points during his campaign. The coalition has already claimed that they intend to introduce an ‘opt-out clause’ for European asylum and migration policies; although it is unlikely that any such clause will be implemented, the Netherlands will join Hungary and Poland in challenging EU’s migration policies which will undermine the stability of the EU. The EU already has migration and asylum policies that the Netherlands has already agreed to and ratified, this means any chance of withdrawing from previous agreements and deals will be challenging, however, it is safe to assume that the Netherlands will take a very different stance in upcoming migration negotiations in Brussels.  

Education has been a critical aspect of the general election, particularly because of the increasing number of international students in the Netherlands. Education and migration are two closely related and intertwined concepts. The coalition has made it clear that they want fewer foreign students coming to the Netherlands with the aim of giving more opportunities to Dutch students. The four parties aim to reduce education spending by reducing study grants and additional student benefits. Furthermore, they aim to increase the tuition fee for non-EU students. These changes will have considerable effects on the Dutch education system and its role globally; we can expect to see changes in the amount of EU and non-EU students studying in the Netherlands.  

Climate policy is another strong aspect that the coalition aims to address, this is a critical issue in the Netherlands as in recent years there have been massive protests by Dutch farmers due to the EU’s regulation on nitrogen emissions. With the BBB (Farmers Party) in government, the Netherlands aims to relax limits on nitrogen and ask the European Commission for exemptions regarding nitrogen rules. Wilders himself called for putting all climate policies and agreements ‘through the shredder’, although this will likely not happen, the EU will face a Dutch government that plans to reduce expenditure on renewable forms of energy and reduce tax on CO2. Brussels can expect the new coalition to resist a number of climate policies and challenge any attack on fossil fuel emissions.  

The formation of the new Dutch coalition government is expected to significantly influence EU policies across various domains, including climate, migration, and more.  European Diplomats believes in a nuanced discussion around the topic of migration, and the outcome of the election in the Netherlands offers an important talking point in our ‘Future of Migration Consortium’, a project ED has been working on and plans to host in the near future. Similarly, with our extensive expertise in education policy and having successfully hosted the ‘Future of Education Consortium’ meetings in the past, we are planning to host yet another meeting soon to further explore the emerging issues in education. These two consortia aim to bring together experts, policymakers, and stakeholders to discuss and shape the future of these critical areas in the EU. Additionally, European Diplomats can assist businesses in navigating climate policy developments, ensuring they stay informed and compliant with evolving regulations. 


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