Highlights from Dutch Parties’ Coalition Agreement

Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte answers questions in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, July 5, 2016
Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte answers questions in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, July 5, 2016 (European Parliament)

Christian and liberal parties have unveiled a coalition agreement in the Netherlands. Here are the highlights from their program. Read more

Center-Right Parties Form Government in Netherlands

Prime Ministers Theresa May of the United Kingdom, Mark Rutte of the Netherlands and Justin Trudeau of Canada pose for photographs outside NATO headquarters in Brussels, May 25
Prime Ministers Theresa May of the United Kingdom, Mark Rutte of the Netherlands and Justin Trudeau of Canada pose for photographs outside NATO headquarters in Brussels, May 25 (Flickr/Justin Trudeau)
  • Center-right parties in the Netherlands are due to form a coalition government.
  • The four-party deal allows Mark Rutte to stay in power for four more years. Read more

Tax Policies from Dutch Coalition Deal Leak

Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte greets Lithuanian president Dalia Grybauskaitė in The Hague, June 21
Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte greets Lithuanian president Dalia Grybauskaitė in The Hague, June 21 (Presidency of Lithuania/Robertas Dačkus)

Christian and liberal parties are expected to form a coalition government in the Netherlands next week.

The public broadcaster NOS has learned they are planning various tax reforms:

  • Tax reform: Income tax brackets will be reduced from four to two.
  • Tax relief: For the elderly and middle incomes.
  • Profit tax: Will be reduced from 20 to 16 percent for small companies and from 25 to 21 percent for larger companies.
  • Sales tax: The low, 6-percent value-added tax rate on basic goods will be raised to 9 percent. Standard VAT rate will remain 21 percent.
  • Home mortgage interest deduction: Will be reduced to 37 percent, effectively raising taxes on especially wealthy homeowners. Read more

Dutch Parties Agree to Simplify Tax Code

Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte is seen during the state opening of parliament in The Hague, September 19
Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte is seen during the state opening of parliament in The Hague, September 19 (SZW)

The four parties negotiating to form a coalition government in the Netherlands have agreed to simplify the tax code, the public broadcaster NOS reports.

The plan would reduce the number of income tax brackets from four to two. The threshold at which the top, 49.5-percent rate kicks in would be raised to €68,000.

Middle and high incomes would benefit from the changes. Low incomes would continue to pay 37 percent income tax. Read more

Catalan Referendum Animates Flemish, Leaves Dutch Cold

View of Antwerp, Belgium, March 28, 2014
View of Antwerp, Belgium, March 28, 2014 (Visit Flanders)

The Dutch aren’t sure what to make of Catalonia’s independence bid. Only in the last few days have their news media started paying attention to what’s happening in the region.

Flemish media are more interested. Maybe because they have pragmatically managed their differences with the French-speaking Walloons for decades and are wondering why the Catalans and Spanish can’t do the same? Read more

Democrats Should Campaign for Dutch-Style Health Reforms

Dutch girls cycling in Amsterdam, June 13, 2014
Dutch girls cycling in Amsterdam, June 13, 2014 (Shirley de Jong)

The other day, I explained that the reason Americans can’t get a European-style health-care system is not opposition from insurance companies but the fears of 155 million Americans who currently get health insurance through their employers. They worry that a single-payer system, like Britain’s, would mean higher taxes and lower-quality care.

Such fears — largely unfounded — would undoubtedly be amplified by drug companies, health providers and insurance companies if the Democrats campaigned for “Medicare for all”.

So instead of having an abstract, and probably pointless, debate about which health-care system is superior, why not look at what advocates of single-payer hope to achieve and see if this can’t be done without eliminating private insurance? Read more

Negotiations for Labor Reform Break Down in Netherlands

The port of Rotterdam in the early morning, March 14, 2014
The port of Rotterdam in the early morning, March 14, 2014 (Haaijk)

Labor negotiations between employers’ organizations and trade unions have broken down in the Netherlands.

Both sides blame the other, but employers had the bigger incentive to let the talks collapse.

Without a deal, it will be up to the next government to impose reforms and the four parties negotiating to form a government are center-right. They are expected to enact more employer- than worker-friendly changes. Read more