Statement by Prime Minister Mark Rutte after the breakdown of negotiations

Statement by Prime Minister Mark Rutte after the breakdown of negotiations between the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (PVV), the Christian Democratic Alliance (CDA) and the Freedom Party (VVD)

It was almost seven weeks ago that we stood here outside the Catshuis:  Maxime Verhagen, Geert Wilders and myself. At that time we expressed the ambition to do what was necessary for the future of the Netherlands in very difficult times. Today I must inform you that the three parties that entered into this political partnership have not succeeded in agreeing on a joint response. At a certain point there was no sense in further discussion. Times like these call for cogent answers, not half measures.

We were nearly there. A basic outline of what needed to be done had been agreed: a package of measures to put public finances in order and reforms to make the Netherlands stronger and ensure that the burden would be fairly shared. At the last minute the PVV recoiled at the consequences of the agreement we made a year and a half ago when this coalition was formed. Namely: to do what needed to be done, even in the face of opposition and difficult circumstances. I am forced to conclude that the Freedom Party ultimately lacked the political will. And thus we are left empty-handed. This government and this political partnership are the outcome of complex election results and a fragmented political landscape. Success was not guaranteed at the outset for this minority government with parliamentary support. But I know that for everyone involved, the fact that this venture has not been brought to a successful conclusion feels like a defeat. And this is something that affects me deeply on a personal level.

I have just telephoned the Queen to inform her of the present political situation. On Monday morning a special session of the cabinet will be convened to discuss how to move forward.

I stand before you devoid of pretentions. If we do nothing, by next year, we will be spending €28 billion more than is coming in. This means that the national debt will rise by €90 million every day. In other words, the interests of the Netherlands are no different today than they were yesterday. And given the seriousness of the situation, the government will make further proposals in consultation with parliament for taking the necessary action, never losing sight of the main issues: raising employment, restoring public finances and maintaining the confidence of the financial markets. All of which are in the interests of the Netherlands.