More than six months after the Dutch elections took place, a long period of debates, negotiations and incertainty has finally come to an end. The new coalition of center-rightwing parties was sworn in last Thursday the 26th of October. Having Sigrid Kaag of the liberal-democratic party D66 as the new Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation in the third Rutte government (Rutte III), we can look forward to where the opportunities lie in the new coalition’s plans to make the world fairer and more sustainable. The Coalition Agreement, which tries to build a bridge between the political centre and the centre-right, is a smart piece of work in terms of reaching compromises. In the current international climate of societies progressively growing apart, that is a striking achievement.
In the run up to the European elections of 22 May, the Fair, Green & Global Alliance is organizing a debate in which several Dutch party leaders for the European elections are challenged to answer the following questions.
How will our continent look like in the near future and, above all, how do we want to improve Europe? What is the role of European trade policy and tax evasion? Can Europe emerge from the crisis fair and green? In short, what is the future of Europe?
Like many in the field of international development aid, Both ENDS eagerly awaited the recent publication of the WRR (Dutch Scientific Council for Government Policy) report, "Less Pretention, More Ambition". Both ENDS was especially interested in the areas relevant to its own mission and core competencies, i.e. supporting civil society organisations working in the fields of ecological sustainability and social justice.
During the election debate between ten candidate MEPs (Members of European Parliament) yesterday evening in the Brakke Grond in Amsterdam, several issues are highlighted. Candidates explain how their parties think about the use of biofuels, mandatory production criteria for clothing sold in the EU and on the approach to tax avoidance. All participants acknowledge that there are problems related to these issues, but they differ on their preferred solutions to these problems. Tempers start to run high when the free trade agreement between the U.S. and the EU (TTIP) is discussed.