On Tuesday night, Eindhoven politicians overwhelmingly supported the coalition agreement of GroenLinks (green left party), CDA (christian democrats), D66 (democrats) and PvdA (labour party). With 40 votes in favour and 4 against, the agreement was adopted with applause.
Only the opposition parties SP (socialist party) and Forum for Democratie (FvD, forum for democracy) voted against. The largest opposition party, VVD (people’s party for freedom and democracy), was critical, but gave the new coalition the benefit of the doubt.
The new coalition agreement was presented on Friday. In it, GroenLinks, CDA, D66 and PvdA want to take many steps towards making the city more sustainable, building more affordable housing and reducing social inequality in the city. That choice was emphasised again on Tuesday evening. “We are investing millions in greening and biodiversity and we are doing everything we can as government to take back control of the housing market. We also want to ensure that everyone benefits”, Eva de Bruijn, the new GroenLinks party chair, says.
Nevertheless, the plans in the coalition agreement were received with varying degrees of criticism. Volt leader Jacco Rubenkamp: “There are points for improvement, but we are not unnecessarily negative”. The VVD was more critical. Group chairman Lex Janssen: “There are too many open ends in this agreement. We also have our doubts about the feasibility and affordability of many ambitions. For example, the city must be climate-neutral by 2030, but this coalition is only reserving a limited budget for this”. The SP particularly misses clear goals. “It is not very concrete. In addition, the plans cannot be tested, for example when it comes to healthcare”, group chairman Murat Memis explains.
The coalition says it will do everything possible to combat the housing crisis, and to offer people with tighter budgets opportunities on the housing market. Yet opposition parties are not convinced. Volt and the SP, for example, believe there should be many more social housing units. Rubenkamp: “You kept hearing the coalition parties say that during the campaign. So now you have to deliver on that with at least 40 per cent social rent for new buildings. That didn’t happen”. The VVD fell over another passage in the plans for the housing market. “It says that property owners are disrupting society. How can you write that down?”, Janssen said indignantly.
The plan for two so-called ‘city envoys’ was also criticised. The envoys are given a specific task, in addition to the seven Aldermen. But there was little understanding for that choice. “Are these envoys democratically legitimised? They are sworn in here, but they are actually just civil servants. What if they are called to account by the municipal council?”, Rubenkamp wondered. “Can we send them away if we think they are not doing their job properly?”, ‘Forum voor Democratie’ front man Nicolas Knoester added. Mieke Verhees, the new Alderman on behalf of the PvdA, tried to parry that criticism. “In the end the Aldermen are administratively responsible. If my envoy makes a mess of things, you can send me away”.
Translated by: Bob