After weeks of debate, the Netherlands has a new coalition government, complete with programme. The Christian Union has joined Christian Democrats and Labour, putting forward a centrist economic policy and a softer line on immigration. Christian Democrat Jan Peter Balkenende will remain as Prime Minister. He presented the coalition slogan, ‘Work Together, Live Together’ saying he wanted to see a “society characterized by respect, solidarity and durability”.
Labour Leader Wouter Bos, who won economic concession from Balkenende, said the 50-page agreement reached between the three parties included tens, if not hundreds of measures which excited him. Notably for Labour, the government will stop short of major economic reforms, unlike Balkenende’s previous administration. And to appease the Christian Union, the programme includes the promotion of alternatives to abortion. Also, an estimated 30,000 failed asylum seekers are to be allowed to stay in the country.