Today’s report that three of the four leaders in talks to form a new Dutch Government agreed to work on solid kingdom ties during a meeting with Aruban Prime Minister Mike Eman is in principle reassuring. After all, there had recently been voices in The Hague calling for a much looser relationship with the Caribbean countries in the future.
VVD, CDA and D-66 are currently negotiating with GroenLinks, but there remain some major policy differences to overcome, particularly with the latter, leftist party. Christen Unie is therefore widely viewed as a possible alternative.
Some people might be surprised particularly with the commitment of caretaker Prime Minister Mark Rutte, because several of his VVD’s parliamentarians, including André Bosman, have been very critical towards the islands and made what are locally considered controversial proposals like restricting the admittance of their citizens to the Netherlands. There was recently even mention of a separate passport with another colour for inhabitants of the overseas territories.
It must be said, none of these rather drastic suggestions was backed by a majority in the Second Chamber of Parliament and indications are this will continue to be the case. Had anti-immigration party PVV won the elections, things could have turned out quite differently.
Time will tell how and to what extent Rutte, CDA leader Buma and D66 leader Pechtold stick to their word on building up rather than tearing down kingdom relations, but Eman was in any case able to get them to state their intention to do so. A promise made is a promise kept.