The Netherlands is still without a formal government, despite the annual opening of the new political year.

Drawn-out negotiations to form a ruling coalition have stalled for months, and no new plans were unveiled on Tuesday.

The Dutch King Willem-Alexander outlined a reduced government plan for the coming year in his traditional Prinsjedag (Prince’s Day) speech opening the new parliamentary term.

“Major new long-term choices are for the next Cabinet,” King Willem-Alexander told a joint sitting of both houses of parliament.

The government of caretaker Prime Minister Mark Rutte has been in control since the general election in March.

But the Dutch King said the government would invest an extra €7 billion to help achieve its planned reduction in emissions.

Proposed measures include making homes and industries more sustainable and promoting the use of electric cars.

“Climate change and rising sea levels are happening much faster and more severely than expected,” the king said in The Hague.

King Willem-Alexander also pledged more funds to tackle housing shortages, for education, and to bolster rule of law, warning that organised crime gangs are becoming increasingly violent.

He called the murder in July of crime reporter Peter R de Vries “a new nadir”.

For the second year in a row, Willem-Alexander’s annual speech was held in a Hague church due to coronavirus restrictions.

“Despite the coronavirus crisis and a caretaker government, the Dutch economy has remained strong, especially if you compare it to other countries,” King Willem-Alexander said.

The Dutch economy is expected to grow by 3.5 percent next year, according to budget projections by Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra.

Meanwhile, the Dutch king also said that membership of the European Union, NATO, and the United Nations remain “cornerstones of Dutch foreign policy”.

But he added that the country has to make “strategic decisions about its relations with China and Russia, as well as with the United States”.

“Trans-Atlantic cooperation remains the foundation of Dutch security policy, but at the same time we will have to invest more in European security policy,” he said.