What problems could far-right coalition in the Netherlands cause for Ukraine?

Tuesday, 21 May 2024 —

It took the Netherlands over six months of very tough negotiations to finally announce a new coalition. It is rather a common practice in the country, but this time, the composition has turned out to be surprising.

Right-wing populist Geert Wilders of the Party for Freedom (PVV) surprised not only everyone around but also himself by winning 37 seats in parliament in last year's elections. Such a result would have been sheer fantasy ten years ago, and now a radical politician, who has managed to quarrel with almost everyone over the years due to his aggressive rhetoric, has become mainstream in one of the most developed and democratic countries in the world.

Read more on the new coalition and whether the far-right will affect the Netherlands' support for Ukraine in the article by Daria Meshcheriakova, a European Pravda journalist – With far-right, but not against Ukraine: Why 'Wilders government' won't make the Netherlands pro-Russian.

The new coalition will have 88 seats in the 150-seat parliament.


In addition to Wilders' party, the coalition includes three other political forces – the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy of current Prime Minister Mark Rutte (VVD, led by Dilan Yeşilgöz-Zegerius), the New Social Contract (NSC) with Pieter Omtzigt, and the Farmer–Citizen Movement (BBB) led by another populist, Caroline van der Plas.

These political forces have reached an agreement despite numerous disputes and a low level of mutual trust.

Who will be lead the Dutch government?

According to the agreements, the new prime minister will be selected from party members or external experts. Additionally, half of the portfolios in the new government are to be allocated to external professionals. This experimental approach aims to ensure the government's professionalism. The party leaders themselves will work in parliament.

As the winner of the November elections, it is up to Wilders to nominate the candidate for prime minister. However, his party has a noticeable shortage of qualified personnel. It is currently unknown who the right-wing radical will nominate for the position of prime minister or for the cabinet.

Most likely, the new prime minister will be much more restrained than Wilders. They will not go against the established Dutch consensus on continuing support for Ukraine.

In the Netherlands, there is a social consensus regarding Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine. One of the main factors influencing this perception was the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 in 2014. Ukrainians in the Netherlands are seen solely as victims of Russian aggression, so the government, including Wilders, will continue to support Ukraine.

This is confirmed by the coalition agreement, which explicitly states that the Netherlands will continue to provide political, military, financial and moral support to Ukraine.

Additionally, the coalition is committed to meeting NATO's standard of spending 2% of GDP on defence, which will be legislated.

Migration restrictions will not apply to Ukrainians.

However, a worrying signal for Ukraine could be the Netherlands' new agricultural policy. Despite Ukrainian agro-exports not being a competitor for Dutch farmers, the new government's position might become more sceptical about continuing the free access of Ukrainian food products to the European market.

Nonetheless, it is highly likely that this coalition will not last long.

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