0689-Corona virus & Politicians

Confidence in Prime Minister Rutte and his corona approach is declining.

Fewer people have confidence in Prime Minister Rutte and his approach to fighting the corona virus. His party, the VVD, has also steadily lost seats in the past two months. These are the first cracks in Rutte’s cast-iron reputation for months. This is evident from research by EenVandaag and the new seat survey by Ipsos and EenVandaag. Since the corona crisis, Rutte’s confidence has risen to rare heights. In the midst of the first wave of the corona crisis, 75 percent stood behind him as prime minister, where previously up to 40 percent supported him.

Lowest confidence in months
But the moment the number of corona infections has grown again for a long time, doubts about him also grow. Last month, at the end of June, 71 percent still thought he was doing well as Prime Minister of the Netherlands. That has now dropped to 64 percent. While a majority still supports him, that figure hasn’t been that low in months. This is partly due to the dissatisfaction with the EU agreement concluded last week, where hard-hit countries are being helped financially by the EU. Despite praise for Rutte’s critical attitude during the negotiations, most are not satisfied with the outcome. But the most frequently cited reason for the decline in confidence is the invisibility of the prime minister now that the corona virus has recovered in recent weeks. Many people are waiting for reassurance or new measures from the Prime Minister. Someone who has lost confidence says in the study: “As a manager of the corona crisis, he did well, but at this stage he leaves it at that.”

Coming back from vacation?
Both Prime Minister Rutte and Minister De Jonge, of Health, have a few weeks of vacation. Although many people (66 percent) believe that this should be possible after the intensive first half of the year, there is still discomfort with a large group. 43 percent believe that with the rising number of corona infections, at least one of them should return. “Of course I want to give them their holidays, but if the situation changes quickly, I still think they should give another press conference themselves. I think that they can properly indicate the severity of the crisis,” said one respondent. And another: “I think Grapperhaus is not doing as well as a straggler. De Jonge and Rutte should have coordinated their holidays better.” Half (51 percent) believe that Rutte and De Jonge should continue their holiday for the time being.

Support De Jonge is also declining
With declining confidence in Rutte, support for the government’s approach to the corona virus has also declined considerably, from 69 percent at the end of June to 59 percent now. This brings the share of people who support government action to the level of mid-March. Then the number of corona infections in the Netherlands also rose rapidly. Not only Prime Minister Rutte loses credit with the citizen. According to fewer people, De Jonge, Minister of Health, is also doing well. Last month was 66 percent behind his performance; now 55 percent of that remains. He is also accused of being little visible at the moment. In addition, some are increasingly under the impression that he lacks knowledge and plays a role in compensating for that lack of knowledge.

Steady loss to the VVD
The waning confidence in the prime minister is also not good for his party, the VVD. In two months, the party loses five seats and now comes to 39 seats, according to the new seat poll of Ipsos and EenVandaag. Rutte’s party thus seems to have passed the peak that it had built up since the corona crisis. The VVD rose no less than 17 seats in three months, with 44 seats in May as the high point. In recent months, the VVD has won voters from all kinds of different parties and it is now losing those seats again. However, the VVD remains by far the largest party. The distance to the second party, the CDA, is currently 22 seats. There is no question of a ‘De Jonge effect’ at that party this month. With 17 seats, the CDA remains the same size as a month ago.

0676-European Union

Prime Minister Mark Rutte is satisfied with the agreement reached this morning on the Corona Aid Fund and the EU’s multi-year budget. As far as he is concerned, all important points for the Netherlands are included.
Just after half past five, after more than four days, European leaders agreed on a European budget (up to and including 2027) of EUR 1 074 billion and a corona fund of EUR 750 billion. French President Emmanuel Macron spoke of “a historic day for Europe”, but Rutte did not want to go that far. “I’m not like that.” The prime minister spoke of a “difficult and difficult process”. “There was a lot at stake. It is a lot of money. And it was also about helping countries recover from the terrible pandemic that has been plaguing Europe since February. It makes sense that this takes a little more time.”

No refund.
In particular, it took so long because countries could not agree on the corona repair fund. It has now been decided to supplement the fund with 390 billion in grants and 360 billion in loans. The money for this will be borrowed by the European Commission on the capital market. The Hague was not in favor of a recovery fund, and certainly not support through subsidies, because they do not have to be repaid. Rutte eventually gave up the opposition to this, because he was able to secure guarantees about how it was spent, with a focus on economic reforms.

“Good thing”
Despite the long resistance, Rutte called the fund a “good thing”. “We have always said that we show solidarity with the countries that have been hit hard. But that solidarity has two sides. We believe that we can ask them to implement reforms so that they are best prepared for the next crisis. ” According to Rutte, the emergency brake can now be pulled if the Member State receives money, but is not busy with the requested reforms. “It is not our goal to pull the emergency brake. It only serves as extra pressure. It is unpleasant if you are held accountable for not keeping your agreements. That is negative publicity. Because the emergency brake is there, we prevent it from being used.”

The prime minister does not feel that he has failed to keep promises not to give away money to countries such as Italy or Spain. Last month, when he was called during a working visit to The Hague not to give “that money”, he replied: “I remember that!” This morning he said about this: “I would like to say to that gentleman that money is not just going to those countries.” He also wanted to hear nothing about criticism of a diluted text about the linking of funds to the state of the rule of law. As far as the Netherlands is concerned, countries such as Hungary and Poland should stop the erosion of their legal system, Rutte always emphasized. If not, they would get less money from Brussels. “The core of what we want has remained intact. If a country violates European rules, measures can be imposed. The old text was more “in the face” of some countries, they were not happy about that. For us, this was one of the big points, a reason to drop the whole deal.”

Not impressed
A few other important cases have been brought in for the Netherlands, according to Rutte. “First, the payments to the EU have remained unchanged. We really wanted that and we succeeded. ” Furthermore, from 2021 onwards, our country will receive a higher discount of 1.92 billion euros on the annual EU contribution (that discount is now 1.57 billion). From now on, the Netherlands may also keep 25 instead of 20 percent of the customs duties that are collected in the port of Rotterdam, in the name of Brussels. That quickly rises to above 100 million euros. Rutte is also satisfied with the limited increase in the total budget. “It is in line with the new size of the union. After Brexit we are no longer with 28, but with 27. ” The Prime Minister was once again not impressed by the criticism he has endured recently, including from his colleagues. “There were certainly tough moments now and then. It chafes, that is part of it occasionally. The proportions are fine, we can take a beating. ” He does not think that the Netherlands, as captain of the ‘Miserable Four’, has lost credit to the rest of the Member States. “It can collide, anyone can against that.”

The world is richer in a new Dutch expression. Because according to the BBC, the current, widening EU summit will go down in history as the “stiff-leg summit”, or the top of the stiff leg. An expression that the Dutch use to indicate that Prime Minister Rutte is “sticking to his guns”, the British broadcaster explains to its international readers.

The foreign media are full of Rutte. For example, the Flemish newspaper De Standaard explains the reason for his stiff leg: “The persistence with which Rutte continued to fight for his right has a lot to do with Dutch politics. Parliamentary elections take place in the Netherlands in March. Although Rutte has been prime minister for ten years and his party is one block ahead of the polls, he thinks he cannot afford defeat in Brussels. When he bends, he gets the wind in front, both in the House of Representatives and in public opinion. ” “Rutte is the bitten dog. And not only with Macron, but also with Merkel and twenty other leaders, “said De Morgen. French newspaper Le Figaro writes that the major mistake of Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron in preparing this crucial summit was that they underestimate Mark Rutte’s “force of slowness.” “And also thinking that some visits to The Hague and maintaining a comfortable discount (on the Dutch EU contribution) would make him come back to his concerns.” A friend of the Prime Minister says to Le Figaro: “Mark does not change of opinion when under pressure. He only changes his position if there are good arguments.”

According to the Walloon newspaper Le Soir, the Dutch prime minister does not simply demand a veto for the Netherlands. “For Rutte, it is important to make it clear to his Dutch home front for the upcoming elections that he can be exemplary strict with the southern countries that have been knocked out by the corona virus, but are still lagging behind with their reforms.” Behind the resistance against the colossal The amount of aid is something else that the miserly countries, with the lead of the Netherlands and Prime Minister Mark Rutte, do not want to mention, according to the French newspaper Libération: “A leap to a federal Europe whose construction is so badly needed.” That is worth something, ” including a postponement of this meeting to the next ultimate summit of the last chance ‘. Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s action at the EU summit is reminiscent of the Cold War communist dictatorship, according to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.

The record of the longest European summit has just not been reached.


More and more farmers are moving away from Farmers Defense Force.

More and more farmers are publicly distancing themselves from the radical action group Farmers Defense Force. The menacing language of foreman Mark van den Oever is a shock to his colleagues. Nevertheless, the group retains its place in the consultations on nitrogen issues. The Agriculture Collective, a collection of thirteen farmers’ organi-zations, has closed the rows. Also Farmers Defense Force is still part of it after the latest slip of the leader Mark van den Oever. Negotiations with Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Minister Carola Schouten about a farmers’ agreement are resumed.  But among farmers, support for the radical action group is crumbling. “The expiration date of Farmers Defense Force has passed,” says Dennis Hurkmans, farmer from Nistelrode. He is completely done with the threatening language of Van den Oever, who lashed out on Wednesday at the “meat bosses and dairy bobos” who “betray the sector as Judas”. Earlier, the Farmers Defense Force leader made a Holocaust comparison that went wrong in many people. The apologies that the action group made on Wednesday evening (“wrong words”) are too late for Hurkmans. “We farmers can no longer stand behind the Farmers Defense Force with healthy farmers’ minds. A club with a totally crazy and crazy leader.”

Fear of colleagues
According to Hurkmans, there are more farmers who share his ideas, but not everyone dares to speak out for fear of reactions from colleagues. Annechien ten Have, a farmer’s wife from Beerta in Groningen, does. Although she initially had her doubts. “I was afraid to be pilloried. But in the end I thought it was too important to make this sound heard.” She openly distances herself from Farmers Defense Force, mainly because of that club’s “intimidating” and “threatening” language. “The size is full, I’m really fed up,” she says. “It was not the first time either. Yes, you can be quite bright. Because there is a lot wrong with the way farmers are treated. But you shouldn’t fight evil with evil.” The sector still agrees that farmers are being disproportionately charged for nitrogen emissions by ‘The Hague’. The division of the farmers’ protest is mainly in the tone of FDF. He consciously chooses big words to make an impression. “If you are sewn, you can be angry,” said Van den Oever. On Thursday he kept a low profile and never answered questions.

Incident too much
For the Brabant farmer Hurkmans, the offending “Judas statement” is an incident too much. As far as he is concerned, the role of FDF has been played. ,,They have raised the issues, they earn the credits for that. But they don’t have the capacity to talk to. History has proven that. We have to wait for the next riot.” Linda Janssen also does not rule out a new incident. She is chairman of the Producers Organization for Pig Farming (POV, member of the Agricultural Collective). Janssen states that it is “an illusion to think that you can silence Farmers Defense Force.” “Of course what they say and do radiates to the collective. It is really not nice that you drive to The Hague for nothing because the consultation is canceled, while you have prepared that conversation well and have the idea that the parties are not so far apart.” Still, Janssen remains confident in Farmers Defense Force as a member of the collective. ,,We are there as a collective with one goal, let’s keep that in mind and discuss the content. Apologies have been made, as far as I am concerned we can continue.”

This applies to all parties in the collective who distance themselves from the Judas and Holocaust remarks, but who want to continue with Farmers Defense Force. Janssen compares the Farmers Defense Force with the activists of Greenpeace. You don’t always have them on a string, but because of their unorthodox actions you sometimes achieve what you would otherwise not achieve.



Theresa May is greeted by Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte upon her arrival in The Hague, Netherlands

Theresa May meets with Dutch PM Mark Rutte in The Hague

Theresa May and Mark Rutte

Theresa May and Mark Rutte

Theresa May will be told on her European tour to stop trying to appease her mutinous backbenches by throwing them the “red meat” of Brexit promises she can never deliver upon, EU diplomatic sources have told The Telegraph.

As Mrs May embarked on a whistle-stop tour of the EU, including the Netherlands, Germany and Brussels, diplomats expressed growing exasperation at Mrs May’s constant attempts to placate the impossible demands of clean-break Brexiteers with unrealistic promises. The message will be the same one Mrs May received from Europe over the weekend, when the Telegraph understands Mrs May was directly warned against feeding unreasonable expectations. “She was told ‘don’t keep feeding them red meat. We know how this ends. You get eaten up last,” said a senior EU diplomat. The uncompromising tone comes as Mrs May seeks a “legally binding assurance” that the UK will not be trapped indefinitely in the Irish backstop arrangement that puts the UK into a customs union with the EU to avoid the return of a hard border in Ireland. After Mrs May pulled today’s the ‘meaningful vote’ in the Commons, the race is now on to secure concessions from Europe that might convince opponents of the deal to change their minds, particularly on the question of the Irish backstop.

0464-European Union

Premier Mark Rutte bij een top in Brussel vorige maand.

Chistian Democrats & Democrats 1966: “When Rutte leaves, the cabinet falls”

Government parties Christian Democrats and Democrats 1966 want new elections when VVD Prime Minister Mark Rutte leaves next year mid-term to Brussels for a European top function. That means high-ranking sources in the coalition. As far as the two largest government partners of Rutte are concerned, a mid-term departure would not be without consequences. Then the cabinet falls, they warn. “Theoretically, new elections are not necessary. But it would be undesirable to do such a major intervention in the cabinet without elections”, says a high ranking D66 member. A high-ranking CDA member of the coalition is certainly: “If Rutte goes to Brussels, there will certainly be elections. This is what Rutte also realizes, so he will think three times. But the pressure from 27 countries can be so great that there is no other option.”

About he future of Rutte has been speculations for months. After the European elections of next spring, the post of President of the European Commission will be vacant. It is now being filled by Luxembourger Jean-Claude Juncker. Rutte is also tipped to succeed Donald Tusk as President of the European Union at the end of next year.

Longest-serving government leader
That Rutte’s name always pops up is because he is one of the longest-serving government leaders in the EU. Moreover, he has a lot of experience in closing complex coalitions. Something that the union, which is sometimes divided to the bone, desperately needs. Rutte himself has said on several occasions that there is no question of traveling to Brussels for a top job. ,,I am finishing this period and see if I am available again for a new period”, said Rutte last spring. There is a struggle between the European Parliament and the EU heads of government on the follow-up of Juncker. The parliament thinks that one of the so-called ‘Spitzenkandidaten’ (list leaders in the European elections) should get this position. The government leaders themselves want to keep a finger on the composition of the daily management of the union in Brussels.


HRH Willem Alexander, Prince of Orange-Nassau, HM Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte, Prime Minister of the Netherlands. Location: Municipal Museum, Amsterdam “Night Watch”.