Cabinet shares concerns about business climate, ‘companies should stay here’

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Minister Adriaansens in the debate on improving the Dutch business climate
NOS News

Together with the House of Representatives, Minister Adriaansens is concerned that the Netherlands has become less attractive to large and international companies. The Netherlands has fallen in international rankings of countries with a good business climate, the business community has sounded the alarm this week and dredger Boskalis recently threatened to leave the Netherlands. “That is worrying”, noted the Minister of Economic Affairs in a debate on the Dutch business climate.

According to the minister, he has many talks with all kinds of companies, including Boskalis. She doesn’t want to say anything substantive about that. “But I understand very well that it is important that we are clearer, more predictable.”

Shortage

In general, companies in the Netherlands, say employers’ organizations VNO-NCW and MKB-Nederland, suffer from the uncertainty surrounding nitrogen policy. For example, it is not clear whether and when companies can build. The level of Dutch education is also insufficient, it is said. Furthermore, the minimum wage has risen, there is a structural shortage of employees and the fiscal climate is not very favorable for companies.

The headquarters of Shell and Unilever have already left the Netherlands and the House of Representatives fears that several companies will follow or that new companies will prefer to establish themselves in other countries. The House wants a faster approach from the cabinet.

Educate

Minister Adriaansens says he is working on all kinds of plans to train more staff and reduce the number of rules, for example.

The debate also touched on the high profits of oil and energy companies in particular at a time when some Dutch people are having trouble paying their energy bills. Oil company Shell made a profit of 38 billion euros in 2022, the company announced at the beginning of this month. This led to discomfort in the House of Representatives.

‘Not cleaner’

Minister Adriaansens calls the growing profits of oil and energy companies complicated and emphasizes that these companies do pay taxes. “We can’t do without them either.” She says that it does not help to have these companies, which also have to work more and more climate neutral, leave the Netherlands. “That won’t make the world a cleaner place.”

Dredger Boskalis says it wants to leave the Netherlands if the corporate social responsibility law is passed. This new law comes from six parties, including the government parties ChristenUnie and D66, and obliges companies to do more about child labour, exploitation or environmental pollution.

Last night it came out that the cabinet wants to put the brakes on with this law, because it wants to prevent the rules in the Netherlands from becoming stricter than in other European countries. Today Adriaansens apologized to the House of Representatives for this news. Not the cabinet, but she personally thinks it is “in a general sense important that the Dutch rules must be in line with European ones”. It is still unclear how this bill will now be dealt with further.

  • More profit companies again: 7.8 billion euros extra to shareholders
  • Record profit Shell good for shareholders, but criticism is getting louder
  • Business: uncertain nitrogen policy bad for business climate
  • Widespread discomfort in the House of Representatives about high Shell profits
  • Politics

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