Minister Micky Adriaansens (Economic Affairs) acknowledges that she spoke out of turn when she criticized an initiative law on international corporate social responsibility (IMVO). She apologizes and emphasizes that the cabinet has not yet taken a position on the proposal, which, in addition to the signatures of PvdA, GroenLinks and SP, also includes those of government parties ChristenUnie and D66.
Adriaansens previously told RTL Nieuws that she has difficulty with the bill. ‘What the cabinet does not want is for our business community to fall behind compared to competitors across the border and elsewhere in the EU. In addition, the cabinet does not want companies to be responsible for matters over which they have no influence, such as the production process at suppliers,’ said the VVD minister.
Her fellow party member Liesje Schreinemacher, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, was also critical of the law. RTL News concluded from this that the cabinet had set up a blockade. ‘That’s just not right,’ said Adriaansens during a parliamentary debate on the business climate. “We’re still talking.” According to the minister, it is up to the House of Representatives to consider the bill. “We’ll let that process take its course.”
In his defense, Adriaansens argues that the cabinet has also written down in the coalition agreement that it is ‘super important’ that companies take the world around them into account when doing business across the border. It was also agreed that legislation should be introduced for this. “I think that’s clouded the situation.”
The Chamber reacts with raised eyebrows to the slip of the two VVD ministers. Member of Parliament Stieneke van der Graaf of the ChristenUnie subtly points out that the right of initiative is ‘an important right’ for parliament. ‘It is customary for the cabinet to adopt a restrained attitude. After all, it is an adviser to the House of Representatives.’ Van der Graaf is pleased that Adriaansens has now clarified the matter. But GroenLinks MP Suzanne Kröger calls it “a difficult story.”
Earlier in the debate, BBB chairwoman Caroline van der Plas, herself not a proponent of the ICSR law, called it ‘completely ridiculous’ that the cabinet would torpedo a proposal from the House. ‘I find it very unfortunate that it is seen as a kind of heroic act by the VVD. I will vote against that law, and the VVD could do the same here. That is a democratic decision.’