Party leaders cross swords in Den Bosch

Follow the debate via the tweets of parliamentary reporter Inge Lengton, at the bottom of this article.

Experts and experts by experience may also contribute to the debate. Subjects such as halving livestock, housing shortage and the Brabant business community are discussed.

It kicks off with a topic that is pre-eminently disagreeable: halving livestock. CDA, VVD and PVV are strongly against, the left-wing parties D66, GL and D66 are in favor.

Hoekstra argues for “innovation instead of halving the livestock”. Nonsense, according to the left-wing parties. “You should not let your ears hang for Farmers Defense Force and leave the local coalition with FvD,” says PvdA leader Lilianne Ploumen. “What you want is not possible, you have to choose the health of the people of Brabant.”

‘You can work locally with FvD’

VVD party leader Mark Rutte kept quiet during the discussion about the livestock, but was directly addressed by D66 party leader Sigrid Kaag, both about the livestock and about the local cooperation with FvD in Brabant. In any case, the VVD rules out cooperation with Forum at a national level.

“The FvD here in Brabant and in the Senate can cooperate,” says Rutte. “Thierry Baudet leads nationwide with terrible texts, which we are not going to work with.” He calls halving the livestock “ridiculous”. He agrees with Hoekstra: “Innovation is needed.”

But Hoekstra does not have to expect any support from Geert Wilders (PVV) either. He accuses the CDA leader of ‘grabbing’ the farmers instead of supporting them: “We have almost no farmers left. You chase them away. You want us to get chickens and pigs from the Ukraine where they can’t even spell the word animal rights? Because that’s what will happen if you drive the farmers out of this province. ”

Hoekstra defends himself by saying that this is precisely the effect of what left-wing parties want. “No way. That’s what you get when you listen to Klaver’s plans. ”

To build

When it comes to the housing shortage, PVV leader Wilders takes his hobby horse from the stable: immigration. “Rutte has given 100,000 social rental homes to status holders and asylum seekers,” he fulminates. “A travesty.” He states that the houses must be preserved ‘for our own people’. “Build more, and not only in cities but also on the outskirts of cities. Leave the obstacles of nitrogen and PFAS for what they are and just start building. ”

Ploumen calls his account a ‘gray turned record’. Kaag agrees: “95% of migrants are highly skilled migrants. Migrant workers work in construction and agriculture. You have to treat them with respect, we need them, ”said the D66 party leader.

Rutte draws the bitter conclusion that none of the parties present has succeeded in obtaining 1 million homes in the calculation of the election programs. In Brabant itself, this would concern 120,000 homes. The size of a city like Eindhoven.

“It is indeed important that there is construction,” says SP leader Lilian Marijnissen. “But above all that construction is affordable.”

Support for nuclear power plant

Marijnissen takes advantage of a statement about the Brabant business community to ask Rutte for his opinion about the location for a new nuclear power plant. “Earlier he said he wanted it in Groningen, a political slip.” But the question, she says, is: should he come to Brabant? “Is a vote for the VVD also a vote for a nuclear power plant in your backyard?”

Rutte no longer dares to name a place, and points to the support that he thinks should exist for it. According to the VVD leader, it is certain that there should be a nuclear power station. “In addition to wind and solar, we also have to build a nuclear power plant, and where to build it, you have to discuss that in the region and if there is support, fine.” If that is not there, he must go somewhere else, says Rutte.

Marijnissen also attacked Rutte on the benefits affair. “Houses have been taken away, cars have been taken away. Even children have been taken away. ” Rutte’s cabinet should have seen this much earlier, she says.

Rutte immediately agrees: “Mrs. Marijnissen has the right to speak.” SP MP Renske Leijten of the SP was one of the driving forces behind the disclosure of the benefits affair. “Wopke Hoekstra and I and the cabinet only saw it later.” For the cabinet, the scandal only came to light in 2019.


The fact that Rutte excludes Geert Wilders’ party in advance is not a good thing for people from Brabant, according to a poll presented during the debate. The poll shows that half of the people from Brabant believe that the PVV should not have been excluded from government participation. When asked who the PVV – besides Rutte – excludes even more, all party leaders raise their hands.

“A travesty,” says Wilders again. CDA leader Hoekstra protects with article 1 of the Constitution: “We must treat everyone equally,” says Hoekstra. “Regardless of origin or religion.”

“The PVV conducts discriminatory politics,” says Kaag. “Mr. Wilders has never offered a solution.”

Corona exit

Finally, the party leaders speak of the long-awaited exit from the corona crisis. VVD party leader Rutte revealed earlier in this newspaper that he wanted to split the formation into two parts, and to use the first part to come up with a recovery plan for after the corona crisis as soon as possible.

“The coming months will be a bit of a struggle, says Rutte on Saturday. But because of the vaccination process, our country can also count on more and more prospects. “I expect that the Netherlands will be able to return to normal and a bit more normal towards the summer. It is crucial that we are then ready to actually make that start. But the real old normal will be a bit further away. ”

The solution to this is rapid testing, says Klaver. “In this way, making the catering and cultural sector and football matches and the whole of life possible again.” Kaag thinks this too. The D66 leader has been arguing for some time for the use of rapid tests and a vaccination certificate to open society again. Hoekstra agrees with the other two: “Otherwise you only have the oldest generation who can go outside.” Young people also want to pick up their lives again, according to the CDA member.

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