THE HAGUE, The Netherlands (AP) – The King of the Netherlands on Tuesday presented a reduced government plan for the coming year in his traditional speech to open the new legislature which took place amid protracted negotiations for form a new ruling coalition.
With Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s government in interim mode since the general election in March and no straightforward path to a new administration, no major plan has been unveiled in the government’s drafted King’s Speech.
“The new major long-term choices concern the next Cabinet,” King Willem-Alexander said in a joint session of the two chambers of Parliament.
Despite this, he said the government would invest an additional € 7 billion ($ 8.2 billion) in measures to help achieve its planned emission reductions, including making homes and industry more sustainable and by encouraging the use of electric cars.
He also pledged more funds to tackle the housing shortage, for education and to strengthen the rule of law, warning that organized crime gangs are becoming increasingly violent. He called the July murder of specialist journalist Peter R. de Vries a “new nadir”.
For the second year in a row, the King’s “Throne Speech” was held at a church in The Hague instead of the historic Knight’s Hall due to coronavirus restrictions and there was no horse-drawn carriage ride for members of the royal family in the crowded streets. As King and Queen Maxima left the church, a small group of people booed.
Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra presented details of the budget to parliament on Tuesday.
On foreign policy, the king said that membership in the European Union, NATO and the United Nations remained “the cornerstones of Dutch foreign policy”, but added that the country had choices. to do regarding its relations with China, Russia and the United States.
“Transatlantic cooperation remains the foundation of Dutch security policy, but at the same time we will need to invest more in European security policy,” he said.