All the ministers and state secretaries as well as all MPs are present when the general political debate is held. The prime minister speaks on behalf of the Government and the leaders of each political group speak on behalf of their political group. By means of a motion, MPs can make it clear that they do not agree with parts of the proposals, or add some elements.
The debate is thought of as a very important debate, because it pertains to what the Government is going to do next year. I generally goes on for two days and attracts a lot of media attention.
General financial debate
In the week after the general political debate the House of Representatives holds a general financial debate, in which the financial experts of the various political groups represented in the House discuss the national budget with the Minister and State Secretary of Finance.
Debates on budget bills
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. Of course, various policy issues will be discussed later, in other debates in the House. The implementation of many of the plans set out in the budget bills requires the drafting of separate bills. Moreover, new developments continually lead to new debates about parts of the Cabinet's policies.