The debate in the House of Representatives about a billion-dollar fund for nitrogen policy will not continue until May. There are so many questions that Minister Van der Wal has not even got round to the answers, which is why the debate will only continue after the recess. ‘It took much too long, there was a lot of criticism of this historic bag of money,’ says political reporter Sophie van Leeuwen.
The CDA minister wants to make 24 billion euros available for the fund. That money is intended for measures to reduce nitrogen emissions and restore nature. But there is not yet a concrete target for the billions. ‘There is still no agricultural agreement and yet the cabinet has to borrow billions on the capital market for this fund,’ says Van Leeuwen.
‘Why do we have to borrow 24 billion without having a real nitrogen policy,’ says MP Derk Jan Eppink of JA21. ‘The policy is standing on quicksand, we first want to see an effect of policy.’
At the same time, GroenLinks Member of Parliament Laura Bromet accuses the minister of conducting a ‘cry story’ and Esther Ouwehand (Partij voor de Dieren) is afraid that too much money is going to the farmers. BBB leader Van der Plas, on the other hand, is of the opinion that there is not enough money available for the agricultural sector. ‘A lot of bickering in the House of Representatives,’ says Van Leeuwen. “Confusion everywhere.”
Because many proposals were made to amend the law, coalition parties in particular want more time for careful consideration. Also because of the amount involved, no less than 24 billion euros, the parties do not want to act hastily. The debate will resume as soon as possible after the May recess, which lasts from 21 April to 8 May. ‘The good news is that there may be an agricultural agreement, everyone is waiting for that,’ emphasizes Van Leeuwen.
In the Senate, the BoerBurgerBeweging, PvdA and GroenLinks threaten to block the nitrogen billions. ‘But that won’t happen until after the summer,’ says Van Leeuwen. ‘The Senate will study the plans in the coming months and this will buy the cabinet time. This will certainly last until Prince’s Day.’
According to GroenLinks MP Laura Bromet, the coalition seems to be ‘buying time’. This accusation is heard more often in the nitrogen dossier: CDA leader Wopke Hoekstra wants to renegotiate the nitrogen deadline, but only after an agricultural agreement has been concluded.