Why Minister Hoekstra is about to drop the cabinet

What happened?

What‘s going on?

Today, members of the House of Representatives had to cut off their vacation for an important meeting. And that’s all because of Wopke Hoekstra, the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Before the summer holidays, the cabinet, which consists of ministers and state secretaries from VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie, came up with a plan to reduce nitrogen emissions by half by 2030.

After the announcement of the plan, thousands of angry farmers took to the streets for weeks. Motorways and warehouses of large supermarkets were blocked and the home of nitrogen minister Van der Wal has been attacked.


to the surprise of the rest of the cabinet, Wopke Hoekstra, who belongs to the cabinet as minister, suddenly told in a newspaper that meeting the nitrogen targets by 2030 is ‘not sanctious’. With his ruling, he now jeopardizes cooperation with other parties. For example, Sigrid Kaag, the party leader of D66, says that she no longer has confidence in that cooperation.

Parties in the House of Representatives now want clarity about Minister Wopke Hoekstra‘s statements and believe that it is time for an extra debate.

Why do I need to know this?

It may all sound complicated, but if the cabinet is in danger, it will have consequences for your life. After the elections last year, the parties all made agreements and signed a coalition agreement together. That is a kind of deal between the parties of the cabinet, which contains the most important agreements. And one of those agreements is that nitrogen emissions will be halved before 2030, but there are also agreements that deal with stufi or schools.

Will we no longer have a cabinet?

Because of Wopke Hoekstra’s statement, that is starting to be exciting. Political reporter Ewout Kieviet follows all the news in The Hague and here‘s what he sees:

“The consequences can be very big for the coalition. If the CDA does indeed no longer want to comply with one of those rules, then the cooperation will be in jeopardy. That is not happening right now. The CDA does support Hoekstra’s statement, but says that they will only decide what to do in two weeks. So that remains exciting for a while.”

What also does not help is that there is much more going on at the moment than just the nitrogen crisis. Like the asylum crisis: there are not enough reception places for asylum seekers in Ter Apel, so they have to sleep outside. And inflation: many people run into trouble, because the electricity bill and groceries have become more expensive due to inflation. Opposition parties are not happy and ask critical questions during the debate. They want the cabinet to take action this year.

But whether the coalition parties still have enough confidence to continue together, that should become clear in the coming weeks.