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General Political Debate

The General Political Debate can be followed live on: video / audio or via the app Debat Direct.

Wednesday 19 September: the House takes the floor

On Wednesday 19 September the leaders of the parliamentary groups in the House are given the floor to comment on the Government's plans.

Parliamentary groups are given the floor in the following order: the largest opposition party starts, followed by the largest coalition party, the second-largest opposition party etc. Speaking time is designated to each parliamentary group based on their respective number of seats in the House.

  • People's Party for Freedom and Democracy / VVD: 40 minutes
  • Party for Freedom / PVV: 35 minutes
  • Christian Democratic Appeal / CDA: 35 minutes
  • Democrats 66 / D66: 35 minutes
  • GreenLeft / GroenLinks: 30 minutes
  • Socialist Party / Socialistische Partij : 30 minutes
  • Labour Party / PvdA: 30 minutes
  • ChristianUnion / ChristenUnie: 25 minutes
  • Party of the Animals / PvdD: 25 minutes
  • 50PLUS: 25 minutes
  • Reformed Political Party / SGP: 20 minutes
  • THINK / DENK: 20 minutes
  • Forum for democracy / Forum voor Democratie: 20 minutes

Friday 21 September: Reply from the Cabinet and conclusion

General Political Debate 2018

On Friday 21 September 2018, Prime Minister Mark Rutte will speak on behalf of the Government, which is followed by a so-called second stage during which both MPs and the Government are given the floor again. This year, the second part of the General Political Debate will take place on Friday rather than on Thursday, as it normally does, because Prime Minister Rutte will be abroad on Thursday attending an informal summit of European heads of state and government in Vienna about illegal migration and security. That is why the House decided in April to hold the second part of the debate on Friday, which is normally not a sitting day in the House.

An important debate

The General Political Debate is seen as a very important debate, because it makes clear to what extent the Government will be able to carry out its plans and how much support there is in the House for these plans. The debate generally goes on for two days and all the ministers, state secretaries and MPs are in attendance. The Prime Minister speaks on behalf of the Government and the leaders of the parliamentary groups on behalf of their group. They can propose motions objecting to a proposal or demanding its adjustment.

Next: General Financial Debate and scrutiny of budget bills

The General Financial Debate is held on 2, 3 and 4 October with the Minister of Finance, about the Budget Memorandum and the budgetary policy. In the following months, all the ministers and state secretaries defend their own budget bills in Parliament. MPs have until the first of January to discuss the proposals. In special cases an exception to this rule is possible.

Schedule for the scrutiny of budget bills

9, 10 and 11 October (week 41)
- General Affairs (III) + the King (I)
- Kingdom Relations (IV)

16, 17 and 18 October (week 42)
- Health, Welfare and Sport (XVI)
- Interior (VII) including Municipalities Fund (B) and Provinces Fund (C)

30, 31 October and 1 November (week 44)
- Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality (XIV) including Animal Health Fund (F)
- Education, Culture and Science (VIII)

6, 7 and 8 November (week 45)
- Infrastructure and Water Management (XII) incl. Infrastructure Fund (A) en Delta fund (J)
- Economic Affairs and Climate (XIII)

13, 14 and 15 November (week 46)
- Tax Plan 2018 (including voting)
- Foreign Affairs (V)

20, 21 and 22 November (week 47)
- Justice and Security (VI)
- Defence (X)

27, 28 and 29 November (week 48)
- Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation (XVII)
- Social Affairs and Employment (XV)

4, 5 and 6 December (week 49)
- Voting on all the budget bills