Despite the promise that, with the new government coalition, the Netherlands “will continue to be a constructive partner of the EU”, as the details of the government agreement reached by the far-right leader Geert Wilders and three conservative parties emerge, it is evident that Their plans place the country, a founding member of the club, on a path towards a direct collision with Brussels and the rest of the countries in three key chapters: immigration, the environment and the future European budget.

The Hague wants, in essence, to welcome fewer immigrants, have more cows and pay less to the European Union. The parties have agreed to ask the Commission “as soon as possible” for a “voluntary exclusion clause” – opt-out, in community jargon – for this policy. The formulation caused surprise, embarrassment and indignation, in this order, in the institution, since these clauses have been specifically agreed upon when negotiating new treaties when a country did not want to participate in new policies, but stating it the other way around is not possible.

“You cannot exclude yourself from European legislation. We work on the basis of existing treaties and existing legislation,” clarified the spokesperson, Eric Mamer. The coalition pact, titled Pride, Courage and Hope, announces the adoption of a law on the asylum crisis to suspend the processing of new protection claims for two years, an initiative that may clash with European and international obligations in The Hague. In emergency situations, he would like to reduce the European area of ​​free movement to limit it to “like-minded and neighboring countries.” He literally talks about establishing a “mini Schengen”.

Current regulations provide for the possibility of closing borders for reasons of national security and this has been widely applied since the 2015 migration wave, but this approach could exceed them. The agreement tiptoes around how to achieve the country’s climate goals, but announces that a new exemption will be approved to allow more nitrates to be emitted. Given the high level of pollution in some regions and their obligations with European legislation, the previous executive proposed a plan to reduce agricultural activity that included the purchase and closure of farms, which put the countryside on a war footing.

The adoption of a new exemption, demanded by the farmers’ party, will also produce a confrontation with Brussels. Acting Climate Minister Rob Jetten calls these plans “fantasies.” “They have no idea about the political reality outside the Netherlands, nor about the legal reality,” says Johan Vollenbroek, from the NGO Mobilization for the Environment. “These plans are only possible by leaving the European Union.” Wilders has had to give in to his positions on Russia and the future government will maintain his support for Ukraine, but he declares himself “very critical” of EU enlargement and warns that he wants to reduce Ukraine’s contribution by 1.6 billion. him to the common budget.

The Hungarian leader, Viktor Orbán, who has so effusively congratulated Wilders, can freeze his smile. “The case of the Netherlands is going to be interesting. It is the first time that there is a direct questioning of basic principles of the EU. We will have to see how the institutions and other partners react,” warns Eric Maurice, analyst at the European Policy Center.