Now that the dust from the elections has settled, it is time to ask what the results mean for Drenthe. Or perhaps rather: could mean, because there is still a lot we don’t know.
Many people’s concerns about immigration meant that the PVV emerged as the big winner at the polls. Anyone hoping that the misconduct of asylum seekers from safe countries in Nieuw-Weerdinge and on the bus line between Emmen and Ter Apel will soon be a thing of the past could well be disappointed. If there was a simple solution to this problem, it would have been implemented long ago.
Not only must these asylum seekers themselves cooperate in their return, the country of origin must also embrace the lost sons again. To this end, the Netherlands must conclude agreements with those countries and that does not always go smoothly. It is very questionable whether a government led by Prime Minister Geert Wilders will be able to muster the required diplomatic gifts.
The nature and nitrogen policy has major consequences for Drenthe. Wilders fully supported the farmers’ resistance to plans to drastically reduce livestock numbers. Now that the left-wing parties are sidelined for the time being, he can fulfill his promises to the farmers. The irony is that the province of Drenthe just attracted an army of approximately eleven experts to make plans for the rural area. A first version of those plans is already with the ministry.
So a completely different political wind will probably blow there. Does this mean that Drenthe civil servants will have to do their work again? Or will the entire nitrogen policy be canceled? This undoubtedly concerns many people at the provincial government.
A Wilders cabinet will also have to adhere to the Nature Conservation Act and European agreements, the nature organizations will emphasize. They are absolutely right about that, but the PVV has various wishes on its wish list that are contrary to the Constitution and all kinds of treaties. Compared to a ban on the Quran and closing mosques, a more flexible nitrogen policy may still be the realistic plan to actually implement.
The new coalition that has been governing Drenthe since this summer will have little difficulty if a new cabinet puts the nitrogen plans on the back burner. But that new government is far from in place yet, and it is certainly not certain that Wilders will end up with the other big winner, Pieter Omtzigt’s NSC. The time when the Netherlands had a stable government is behind us.