Dutch political leaders came together for a televised debate in Rotterdam on Monday, two days before the House of Representatives elections. Despite some heated exchanges, the event was more civilized than the previous debate held on SBS6. The six party leaders – 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 key issues such as migration, climate change, and social security.
The climate debate caused significant tension between Timmermans and Jetten, who called for increased ambitions for the Netherlands’ green economy, while others expressed concerns about the costs associated with such measures. Wilders strongly opposed these arguments, stating that people simply wanted to be able to pay for their groceries without worrying about climate change.
The migration issue also sparked intense discussions among the leaders. While Yesilgöz, Wilders, Omtzigt, and Van der Plas advocated for stricter immigration policies, Timmermans and Jetten emphasized the importance of maintaining a hospitable country. Jetten even directly attacked Yesilgöz’s VVD party: “We are not dealing with an asylum crisis at all, but we are dealing with a VVD crisis.”
Despite their differences on other issues, there was consensus among the leaders that addressing housing shortages would be crucial after the elections. They all agreed that maximum efforts must be made to boost construction in order to meet this need.