The cabinet is trying to get “as broad a support base as possible” for the third corona support package. This morning, Ministers Wiebes and Koolmees visited PvdA leader Asscher. This afternoon ministers Hoekstra and Koolmees went to GroenLinks-leader Klaver. With the support of one of these opposition parties, the cabinet is assured of a majority.
The cabinet announced two weeks ago that 11 billion euros will be earmarked for a third support package. This will keep most of the schemes from the first two packages, but they will be cut back and phased out in stages.
In the House of Representatives, where the coalition and the opposition both have 75 of the 150 seats, the package seems to make it. But in the Senate, the coalition has a minority with 32 of 75 seats. The support of the six-seat PvdA party would be sufficient there. GroenLinks has eight seats in the Senate.
‘Too few guarantees’
The ministers said after the visit to Asscher that they had had a good talk, and that they would also talk to other parties. “That leads to a good understanding of what we can still do and what we want,” said Wiebes.
Hoekstra said this afternoon after the conversation with Klaver that the Cabinet would like to listen to the ideas of others, and see if anything can be changed. But he added that extensive negotiations have already taken place with the social partners and that “the heart of the package must remain intact”. “Wiebes, Great Tit and I are going to lay that whole puzzle over the next few weeks.”
Asscher said he’s not reassured yet. He thinks there are now too few guarantees that people won’t lose their jobs or be helped into other jobs. “I think, especially in a time of crisis, that we have to do everything we can to get people not on that benefit, but from work to work. That’s not in the plans right now. We said: do you want support from the Labour Party? Then that worker is essential.”
According to Klaver, he had “a very firm conversation” with the ministers. He thinks the package really needs to be improved “especially for young people and the self-employed”. “At the moment, they’re facing a huge loss of income and I’ve argued once again in favour of a crisis income.” He said the Cabinet has taken his ideas as homework and the discussion will continue.