The Netherlands is preparing to elect its representatives in the House of Representatives on Wednesday, and six party leaders took part in a final televised debate at Ahoy Rotterdam. Dilan Yesilgöz (VVD), Frans Timmermans (GL-PvdA), Geert Wilders (PVV), Pieter Omtzigt (NSC), Rob Jetten (D66) and Caroline van der Plas (BBB) discussed three key themes: migration, climate change, and social security.
The first two themes sparked intense discussions, with some politicians advocating for more liberal policies while others emphasized the need for cost control. The climate debate was particularly heated, with Timmermans and Jetten arguing for higher ambitions while the others feared the economic consequences of such measures.
Wilders strongly opposed the arguments from the left, arguing that the people simply want to pay their bills while spending money on climate change initiatives. He accused Timmermans of not speaking for the people but instead catering to foreign interests.
Similar contradictions were seen in the migration debate, with Yesilgöz, Wilders, Omtzigt, and Van der Plas calling for stricter policies while Timmermans and Jetten emphasized hospitality. Jetten even directly attacked Yesilgöz’s VVD party for holding sway over migration policy for twelve years without any significant progress in reducing criminal asylum seekers or improving living conditions in asylum centers.
Despite these differences, there seemed to be some consensus on one theme: housing. Each party acknowledged that post-election efforts would need to focus on boosting construction across the country. However, no clear standout emerged on this issue during Wednesday’s debate.
Tomorrow evening will see a final televised debate between all major party leaders at NOS before voters head to the polls on Wednesday.