December 1, 2023 10:50 am

With the House of Representatives elections just two days away in the Netherlands, six party leaders came together for a televised debate at the Ahoy in Rotterdam on Monday evening. Dilan Yesilgöz (VVD), Frans Timmermans (GL-PvdA), Geert Wilders (PVV), Pieter Omtzigt (NSC), Rob Jetten (D66) and Caroline van der Plas (BBB) were given the opportunity to address themes such as migration, climate and social security in front of a live audience.

The debate was more civil than last week’s SBS6 debate, but the contradictions between right and left became clear once again. The climate debate once again highlighted how relationships lie between Timmermans and Jetten, who want the Netherlands to increase its climate ambitions, while others fear the costs associated with a greener economy.

Wilders strongly opposed arguments from the left, arguing that people just want to be able to pay for their groceries while spending money on environmental issues. He also attacked Timmermans’ party: “You speak seven languages but not the language of the people.”

In contrast, Jetten directly attacked Yesilgöz’s VVD: “We are not dealing with an asylum crisis at all but an VVD crisis.” He criticized his party for holding sway over migration policy for twelve years without making any progress on reducing criminal asylum seekers returning to their own country or refugees being released from overcrowded asylum centers.

Despite these disagreements, there was consensus on one theme during Wednesday’s debate: housing. Each party emphasized that maximum efforts would need to be made to boost construction after the elections. However, it remains unclear how much this will differ between parties after tomorrow evening’s final debate at NOS.

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