Business: uncertain nitrogen policy bad for business climate

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The fact that companies do not know whether they are allowed to build or invest because of nitrogen is bad for the business climate, according to the employers
NOS News
  • Roel Bolsius

    reporter The Hague

  • John Jonker

    reporter The Hague

The business community is sounding the alarm to members of the House of Representatives about the business climate. That is getting worse, say the employers’ organizations VNO-NCW and MKB-Nederland, partly because the quality of our education is deteriorating, but also because the nitrogen policy still creates so much uncertainty.

MPs have received a letter in which the two employers’ organizations speak of “concrete rot” in crucial parts of the business climate. According to them, the Netherlands is still high on the lists about business climate for companies, but that would be based on past results; the future would look less rosy.

“Think, for example, of the falling PISA scores in reading and arithmetic, which says something about the quality of the future working population,” the employers write to the MPs. In addition, according to the employers’ clubs, there are indications that investments in the Netherlands yield substantially less than in the rest of Europe and certainly in the US.

Investments gone wrong

That does not help attract investors. According to VNO and MKB-Nederland, things can only get worse for the Netherlands if the US also gives billions to sustainable companies, as President Biden wants. “Or think of the major housing shortages and how our country is getting stuck due to nitrogen, among other things, as a result of which we have already missed billions in mostly sustainable investments over the past three years,” the employers write.

Due to the uncertain nitrogen policy, companies do not know whether they are allowed to build or invest. The employers write: “The continued lack of clarity about development space for nitrogen inhibits investments.” VNO-NCW and MKB-Nederland recently argued for speeding up the buyout of peak loaders, because this creates room for entrepreneurs. In the letter, the employers also ask for stable policy and they also want the tax system to not lead to adverse competition.

The House of Representatives sees it too

Tomorrow the House of Representatives will debate the business climate. It is a theme that is completely back on the political agenda, with the discussion about the law on responsible and sustainable business practices and Boskalis, which recently threatened to leave.

Several MPs want to point out in tomorrow’s debate that the unclear nitrogen policy is an obstacle to economic growth. Like the employers, a large part of the House believes that the business climate is under pressure.

“Basically, the business climate is good, but hairline cracks are appearing in that foundation here and there,” says Mustafa Amhaouch of the CDA. He wants a revaluation of the Dutch manufacturing industry and that the government pursues a more proactive industrial policy, with an eye for the various regions. According to VVD MP Pim van Strien, we are at a tipping point: “We are still at the top, but the business climate is under pressure.”

Economic hold

It is important for D66 to speed up the implementation of the nitrogen plans. This means measures in the agricultural sector, among other things, which can create space to build and do business. “Foreign parties that have to opt for a factory in the Netherlands or another country, for example, are now in an economic grip,” says Member of Parliament Romke de Jong.

According to Derk Jan Eppink of JA21, the regulatory burden in the Netherlands is too high. “We see that the nitrogen law is blocking the Netherlands.” According to that party, education should also be better aligned with the labor market and the tax burden should be reduced.

“The Netherlands still has a good business climate,” says PvdA MP Barbara Kathmann. “But the failure of this cabinet to solve problems is very worrying: companies do not receive a nitrogen permit or are not connected to the electricity grid, employees cannot find a home, education scores are declining and public transport is being cut back. perform better if we want to maintain an attractive business climate.”

At the end of last year, the government also acknowledged that the business climate is under pressure. Minister Adriaansens (Economic Affairs) therefore wants to ensure, among other things, that the Netherlands no longer interprets some European rules more strictly than other countries.

  • Is the Netherlands still a great place for companies to establish themselves?
  • Why is there so much criticism of a corporate social responsibility law?
  • Boskalis threatens to leave the Netherlands, ‘new law makes doing business uncertain’
  • Politics

  • Economy

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