D66, GroenLinks have ‘Positive’ Talks with Cabinet
THE HAGUE, 29/06/13 - Centre-left D66 and the leftwing Greens (GroenLinks) say they had a ‘positive meeting’ with a cabinet delegation on Thursday evening. Vice-Premier Lodewijk Asscher also expressed satisfaction on Friday.
The coalition of conservatives (VVD) and Labour (PvdA) has no majority in the Upper House. The cabinet is therefore trying to make a deal in a series of areas with D66 and GroenLinks, who can together ensure a majority.
GroenLinks leader Bram van Ojik said the three-hour long meeting took place in a “positive atmosphere.” D66 leader Alexander Pechtold also spoke of a "positive meeting,” though in terms of content, there is still a "big difference of opinion” with the cabinet.
The two opposition parties are prepared to support the cabinet under certain conditions in cutbacks that were agreed in the coalition accord on subsidies for families with children. And in education, the cabinet wants to replace the present study financing system, based on grants, by a system of loans. GroenLinks in particular, but also D66, want a ‘greener’ tax system among other things in exchange for their support.
Another important condition for D66 and GroenLinks for their support for these measures is that the already announced cutbacks on education for next year will be dropped and that there will actually be extra investments in education. According to Pechtold, education is threatened by half a billion euros in cutbacks next year.
Conclusions have not been drawn, but the talks will continue on Monday evening. On behalf of the cabinet, Ministers Jeroen Dijsselbloem (Finance), Lodewijk Asscher (Social Affairs) and Jet Bussemaker (Education) are participating in the talks.
Asscher, who is also Vice-Premier, said the cabinet has had “a good meeting” with D66 and GroenLinks. The fact that the talks will continue Monday is “a good sign."