Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: The environment, renewable energy, and national defense are expected to be among the top priorities of the new coalition government.

Since the Dutch elections on March 14, the various political parties are in talks to form a coalition government, with a coalition of CDA, D66 and Groenlinks being proposed. In the months before the election, discussions of social issues dominated the campaigns and public debate, with health care, Dutch values, the functioning of the European, and immigration emerging as the main topics. Although there is not a clear vision shared by the coalition parties, certain central themes are likely to be a focus, and these present business opportunities for Wisconsin companies.

The election results show, for example, that Dutch voters want the government to take an active role regarding the environment and climate change, including support for renewable energy and reducing carbon dioxide emissions. The sizable share of the vote that went to the Groenlinks party is considered a sign that voters want the government to prioritize climate-related issues.

The 2015 Paris Agreement is another reason climate related-topics are expected to be an important theme in the coming years. To achieve the goals set out in the agreement, the Netherlands will need to increase its investments in carbon dioxide-reducing technologies, and companies with products and services related to this will have opportunities in the Netherlands. For most Dutch companies, reducing carbon dioxide emissions in their supply chains is an important goal, and Wisconsin companies have the technology to assist with this as well.

National defense is expected to be another major priority of the new government. The coalition parties are proposing to increase defense spending, whereas in recent years the defense budget has been on a decreasing trend. This is due in part to the agreement by NATO countries to invest at least 2 percent of their GDP in defense; it is expected that the new Dutch government will increase spending to meet this target.