The Global Impact of the Dutch Elections: Main Takeaways
Publicatiedatum:31 maart 2021
On Tuesday, March 30, 2021, the International Chambers in the Netherlands, NLinBusiness and the NL Business Hub network organised a webinar about the global impact of the Dutch elections. Over 500 people all over the world tuned in to hear from various speakers who shared their views on the outcome of the recent elections in the Netherlands, its impact on international business, challenges the Dutch government faces moving forward and the most important factors that influence and drive the political priorities of the Netherlands.
Please check out this page for de recording of the webinar
Read on for a summary of the most important takeaways.
Keynote speaker Ingrid Thijssen, President of the employer’s organisation VNO-NCW, opens the session with a statement that outlines the organisation’s new agenda, her view on the recent election outcome and the major challenges that the new cabinet will face:
Ingrid states that the need for a new agenda arose from the increasing distance between society and businesses, the widening of the opportunity gap and efforts in tackling climate change not being sufficient. She emphasises the need for a ‘new compass’ - a new agenda based on 3 pillars: a strong economy, sustainability and inclusiveness (i.e. equal opportunities with a focus on education). An objective is to also encourage the business community to have a broader perspective on their role in local or national societal issues. None of this can be achieved without improving the economic growth prospect in the Netherlands, and to do that, stimulating international business is key.
Dutch election results
Ingrid notes that several topics were underexposed throughout the campaign: the nitrogen crisis, a post-COVID economic recovery plan and international security (China and the US).
She states that the business community sees the pro-European and typically pro-entrepreneurial nature of the majority parties as positive. Their biggest concern is the collective desire to increase taxes for businesses. Ingrid’s opinion is that the only way to grow out of it is to encourage more investments, as it will lead to more jobs.
Major challenges for a new cabinet
- Enable sustainable economic recovery to tackle serious financial damage of core industries. A solid economic recovery plan is needed, beyond the emergency aid package for a few months. The plan should address accumulated debts, boost investment, support equity and ensure increasing taxes for businesses are avoided.
- Improve the working of the Dutch labour market and continue progress with agreements with trade unions.
- Tackle the often underestimated nitrogen crisis which is actually bigger than the financial issue and is causing companies that want to invest in the Netherlands to seek refuge abroad.
- Realise the Dutch climate agreement.
- Foster global business connectivity by investing in workforce, infrastructure and R&D institutions, as well as stimulate Dutch businesses to go abroad, step ahead in joint public private efforts to boost trade and improve the business climate in the Netherlands.
Next, the panel, Cees Westera, Managing Partner at Public Matters, Rem Korteweg, Senior Research Fellow at Clingendael and Frank Heemskerk Secretary General ERT, shared the following predictions and views on the current Dutch political landscape, its global impact and the corresponding challenges:
The delay in the coalition formation will impact policy uncertainty moving forward.
Continuity. In a global context, the choice of the same Prime Minister and majority parties is positive. It offers both internal and external stability.
There will be a change in political tone towards more constructive engagement with the EU and approach to trade in the direction of France and Germany. The Netherlands should be a pragmatic voice, even though it’s a small open trading country, but there’s a lot to improve upon.
Impact on entrepreneurship. Tax increase is conducive with a decline in investments. The Dutch business climate will ultimately become less attractive in the coming years.
A record number of parties in parliament means there is a scattered political landscape that will cause clashes and policy uncertainty on topics such as the nitrogen crisis and climate agenda. For example, pro-European vs. pro-nationalist polarisation, or pro-industry vs. pro-agriculture. A solution is to ensure it is solved by being put in the coalition agreement.
Sustainability is something that the Netherlands should be leading in, in relation to the global political landscape. The hope is that the new government will be less selfish and more pragmatic, dealing with issues at EU level rather than member state level.
Not enough knowledge about technology in parliament will be problematic in the future as global privacy and data-related issues arise.
Need for focus on transatlantic relations honing in on data, privacy, tech, as well as the role of international trade and the Netherlands within it, in particular with relation to Europe’s squeeze in the middle of US and China.
Lastly, the top three global concerns that will affect Dutch political vision of the local industry:
- Relationship US and China
- Climate change (Green Deal)
- People (migration, invest in skills, up/rescaling of Dutch population)
Want to know more about the Dutch elections? Check out this page