The plans for the fund with which the cabinet wants to arrange the buy-out and sustainability of farms in order to reduce nitrogen emissions and restore nature, cannot yet count on sufficient political support. The result of the parliamentary debate that is being held today about the fund of 24 billion euros therefore seems to depend on the commitments that the government will make.
It seems that the cabinet has two options: commitments to either left-wing parties such as PvdA and GroenLinks or to the BBB. They set different requirements in the field of nature and guarantees for farmers.
For example, GroenLinks and PvdA threaten not to support the government’s plans if the cabinet does not come up with more guarantees for nature. The parties are sticking to the year 2030 for achieving goals and are demanding more control over how the fund is spent. The BBB of Caroline van der Plas wants to get rid of the year 2030 and wants more clarity and guarantees for farmers.
The question is therefore in which direction the cabinet will move substantively. Until now, the cabinet has taken the position that the law governing the fund is separate from the law with reduction targets. That law now specifies 2035 as the target year, but it was agreed in the coalition agreement to change that to 2030.
The fact that the four coalition parties are no longer in agreement on the latter and the CDA wants to break open the coalition agreement sometime in the near future led to a vote of no confidence from almost the entire opposition against the cabinet two weeks ago. The government parties have so far had no disagreement about the resources in the transition fund, which means that the plan can pass the House of Representatives. But things are different in the Senate: there the plans will soon need support from more parties, such as GroenLinks and PvdA or the BBB.
GroenLinks leader Klaver believes that the cabinet is now setting too few conditions for the fund and is therefore giving a blank check. “If you spend billions, you have to make sure that you achieve your goals at the end of the day: restoring nature and making agriculture future-proof.”
PvdA leader Kuiken sees nature “running backwards” and building houses virtually at a standstill. She believes that the cabinet can no longer postpone the problems and does not like to “spend 24 billion indiscriminately without good accompanying plans”
As far as BBB leader Van der Plas is concerned, the cabinet must also make it much clearer where the money ends up. She wants more clarity about the revenue models of farmers in the future. It must also become clear how much money can be spent on innovation. As the plans are now, the BBB cannot support them, says Van der Plas.
According to Klaver, the cabinet can no longer keep muddling through. “They will now have to choose, left or right.”
- Van der Plas (BBB) wants its own nitrogen law, European Commissioner Timmermans supports the initiative
- Rutte persists in ‘accelerating’ nitrogen, large part of the opposition loses confidence
- Parliamentary debate makes the nitrogen gap between government parties clear