The morning after the BBB’s victory in the provincial elections in mid-March, party leader Caroline van der Plas was still stern. “Everyone says now all the time: Where are you going to make concessions? Yeah, where am I going she Make concessions? ”
However, Van der Plas immediately made something else clear: BBB wanted to manage – and he was ready for it. The party had already prepared compiled lists of officials, scouts and coordinators. Van der Plaas said the BBB, as the largest party, would “cooperate” and “connect”.
Everything to prevent the same thing from happening to the BBB as it happened to the Forum for Democracy four years ago. Because the forum also stormed the provinces, but after the 2019 negotiations, this party hardly participated in the daily management.
BBB modulation performance was better. More than four months after the election, coalitions in eleven provinces have reached an agreement. BBB participates in ten of them. What does the character of the BBB look like in the province? Can the party concede? Five conclusions based on coalition agreements.
1 From SP and GL to PVV, BBB can do left to right business
The formation process in the governorates took a long time. Last week, Friesland introduced the convention as the penultimate province, nearly four months after the election. In 2019, the counter had already reached eleven chords after three months. With earlier formations, most provinces were usually ready after a month and a half.
However, the reconnaissance and formation silently went abroad in three-quarters of the provinces. The parties that had initially been put forward by the Scouts to try to unite them into the nine counties eventually came to an agreement. This shows that BBB can enter into agreements with many parties. From SP in Limburg and GroenLinks in South and North Holland to PVV and SGP in Flevoland. Broad coalitions are not always firm on sensitive points.
Everyone says all the time now: Where are you going to compromise? Yes, where are they going to make concessions?
Caroline van der Plas Party leader BBB
The BBB has been marginalized in Utrecht and Noord Brabant. In Utrecht because ChristenUnie didn’t like BBB and JA21, because of both parties’ desires about sustainable energy. In North Brabant because the BBB part wanted to amend the draft agreement on a large number of points at the last minute.
The main absentee in BBB coalitions is D66. Democrats have already opposed the BBB during the county council election campaign. In Utrecht, where the BBB does not participate, D66 does. The same applies to Brabant, the last province in which the parties are still negotiating a coalition agreement.
2 Agriculture is a little more important, nature a little less
Conventions breathe repositioning agriculture in relation to nature. Farmers in Flevoland are praised for being “at the cutting edge of developments and technologies”. According to the new coalition, Groningen “possibly has the largest area of future-proof agriculture in the Netherlands”. And in Assen: “Drenthe is inconceivable without the agricultural sector.”
So farmers are given space in provincial plans. Flevoland doesn’t put solar panels on farmland and wants to build as little as possible there, both of which BBB desires. Agricultural land remains agricultural land, it seems in Drenthe, “unless otherwise agreed”. What those other agreements might describe is not described in the agreement.
Incidentally, the farmers of Drenthe also benefit from the BBB alliance through another layer of government. In the Drents Overijsselse Delta Water Board, farmers will pay less in taxes, and residents will pay more.
In contrast to the area devoted to cultivation, nature seems to lose priority. For example, the Gelderland Alliance wants to be able to use old forest lands of “little natural value” for a new purpose.
3 BBB is not averse to compromise, even breaking points have proven resilient
Ahead of the parliamentary elections, the BBB made it clear: We have two breakaway points. Farmers may not be confiscated and cancel the nitrogen deadline of 2030. The law still sets 2035 as the deadline for achieving nitrogen emission reduction targets, but Cabinet Rutte IV wanted to bring forward the deadline to 2030 with an amendment to the law.
What happens to these breakpoints in practice? Zeeland, where a conservative coalition (BBB, CDA, SGP, VVD) has concluded an agreement, is clear. No forced buying for farmers and 2035 is the flagship.
But in the North Holland, for example, where the BBB forms a coalition with GroenLinks, PvdA and the VVD, the political parties have reached compromises. Although not very likely, confiscation is possible in the Northern Netherlands, although the coalition will do its best to prevent confiscation. This sounds like a protest against The Hague, but in fact it is in line with the policy of the Rutte IV government. Outgoing Nitrogen Minister Christian van der Waal (VVD) described the expropriation as a last resort.
Compromise is usually crafted with more skill. About 2030/2035, the North Holland Coalition wrote: “If the law is amended, we will follow it.” Limburg also “commits to legal emissions targets”. This is currently 2035, the coalition writes. In Groningen and Drenthe, there is nothing in the agreement about 2035 or 2030.
In order to achieve targets and reduce nitrogen emissions, the farmer himself is given a large scope by the provinces. You may decide how to do it – the provinces don’t seem to favor a major transition from above. Technological innovations as a possible solution to the nitrogen crisis are also mentioned frequently.
4 BBB agreements do not contradict national policy, do not go further
The provinces do not want to sign the government’s plans according to the agreements. But real disagreements with politics did not materialize either. Natura 2000 regions are not being messed with. The BBB has written in election platforms that it wants to urge the government to reconsider or re-evaluate Natura 2000 regions. There is nothing to read about that in the strings.
Solar and wind power plans are also being completed in most provinces. After that, many consortia don’t want to build additional wind farms or solar farms. Solar panels should be placed on rooftops as far as possible, as desired by the BBB. It is preferable not to place wind turbines in extensive parks, if new parks are to be permitted at all. Friesland and Groningen, for example, set requirements for the height of wind turbines, what The criticisms of the Dutch Sustainable Energy Association can be relied uponHe writes Frisian newspaper. In practice, this meant that no more windmills could be added, because windmills that high were no longer profitable.
Also read the analysis: Nitrogen delays negotiations in the provinces. But there are more reasons why coalition formation has been slow
In Gelderland, the CDA deputy’s regional nitrogen scheme will continue in the former council of the regional executive. The deputy in charge, Peter Drenth, is also on the current board, but with a different portfolio. In that plan, the focus is on reducing nitrogen across the board rather than just agriculture, and expropriation is excluded.
5 Selection hasn’t gone smoothly, no major mistakes have been made (yet)
As a new party, the BBB however also nominates MPs with management experience. Gilles Pemsterbauer, for example. The fact that Beemsterboer became a deputy for the BBB in North Holland came as a surprise to the CDA. He is one of the authors of the CDA’s North Holland Elections Program and wanted to be in the room for the CDA two years ago. Former CDA deputy Maurits von Martels also became deputy of the BBB, in Overijssel.
BBB deputies were not completely free from riots. Henk Emens (Groningen) was discredited even before his appointment due to his behavior on Twitter. I love conspiracy tweets about the Corona vaccine, the war in Ukraine, nitrogen, the climate, MH17, and the World Economic Forum, Discover the city blog Sikkom. It made no difference to his candidacy.
The biggest political risks for BBB MPs lie ahead. Across all provinces, BBB has a portfolio that also includes nitrogen and agriculture. Therefore, the party bears a great responsibility. Because what if MPs are faced with laws and regulations from the central government, and are forced to implement imposed nitrogen schemes that BBB and BBB voters don’t like?
In collaboration with Karel Smouter, Lyanne Levy, and Denise Retera.
A version of this article also appeared in the newspaper on July 21, 2023.
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