Negotiations on the formation of a new Dutch government have now resumed following the summer break. A good point at which to look back as well as ahead: what can the agri-food sector expect from the new government as compared to the policies pursued under the outgoing Rutte II government. It is clear that the agri-food sector is and will continue to be an important subject on the Dutch political agenda. The sector includes more than 120,000 enterprises and employs more than 700,000 workers. The Netherlands is the second-largest exporter of agricultural products in the world. The election programmes of all four of the political parties almost certain to form the new Dutch government (VVD, D66, CDA and ChristenUnie) gave ample attention to subjects such as agricultural subsidies, sustainability and innovation, subjects that were also important under Rutte II. The recent fipronil scandal, which demanded the outgoing government's attention during the summer break and has undoubtedly raised policy questions for the negotiating parties, has highlighted the importance of food safety and animal well-being.
This newsletter outlines some of the issues affecting the agri-food sector on which the new government is likely to focus.