The corona crisis has turned a lot upside down in The Hague in recent months. Subjects previously discussed in and out of the political arena, such as climate, pensions and immigration, have barely been mentioned in recent months.
But that does not mean that the parties are not involved. The party programs for the parliamentary elections of March next year are in full swing. For many parties, traditionally major issues have become even more important as a result of the crisis.
“Stop throwing money away”
The PVV expects that the pandemic will certainly affect the party program. “National interest is becoming increasingly relevant,” says party leader Wilders, who sees his world view confirmed. “More protectionism, less globalization and less EU.” According to the PVV leader, the crisis shows that you should “stop throwing money away at climate, nitrogen, Africa and other side streets”.
No radically new insights for the PVV, but a somewhat sharper focus and that also applies to D66. “A number of things have become more urgent,” said Susanne Dallinga of the program committee. “Labor market reform, for example.”
Due to the corona crisis, the deadline for the chapters labor, care and economy has shifted backwards. So that there is more time “to be able to set the right emphasis”. D66 still wants the same thing, Dallinga emphasizes. “But in advance we had not thought, for example, that we were going to talk about the security of supply of mouth masks or medicines.”
‘Interest once again exposed’
The left side of the spectrum also feels strengthened by the crisis. The PvdA sees a confirmation of the importance of solidarity in the crisis, says Esther-Mirjam Sent, Member of Parliament and chairman of the program committee. In other words, standing up for health care workers and teachers. “We see the urgency of that commitment only increasing.” Sent does not want to reveal what the committee is actually thinking of.
The Party for the Animals has less trouble with this. “Because it is not suddenly different with us,” says party leader Esther Ouwehand. “We already had ideas about how to handle animals,” she says, referring to the origin of Covid-19. “And we also thought that the economy does not have to grow continuously. Both these points are even more exposed,” says Ouwehand.
SP, GroenLinks and the ChristenUnie are targeting the market. “The crisis shows that the time of neoliberalism is over. That movement had already started, but is now accelerating,” said SP MP and program committee chairman Ronald van Raak. “As it turns out, if things shouldn’t go bankrupt, they shouldn’t be on the market.”
The SP has long believed that and Van Raak hopes that everyone will be convinced of this. “If I had said six months ago that we would be talking about nationalizing KLM, you wouldn’t have believed me. Now that conversation is over.”
Nieuwsuur explained a month ago how the coronavirus turns debates, laws and election plans upside down: