Cabinet holds doubts in free holiday tests, can cost 350 million

Free testing of holidaymakers who have not yet been fully vaccinated can cost up to 350 million euros. The demissionary ministers De Jonge and Van Nieuwenhuizen further write to the House of Representatives that they have serious doubts about the feasibility and legality of the explicit wish of the parliament.

The Chamber previously adopted a motion from D66 to offer a free test to anyone who wants to go abroad and has not yet been vaccinated. Such a test is necessary for the digital coronapas gate that EU countries are working on.

Minister De Jonge initially said that he found the costs for such a test included in the regular holiday costs that people have to pay for themselves. But the Cabinet wants to try to execute the motion.

The Cabinet wants to make the free test possible until 31 August and only for the outward journey. It thinks of a combination of three possibilities, although they all have snags and eyes.

Unauthorised State aid

The first option is to have the travel operators take the tests and compensate them for them because they already have a test infrastructure. However, since this does not apply to all travel operators, it would be regarded as unauthorised state aid with the risk of litigation.

In order to avoid this, a tendering procedure could also be launched, but it will soon take four to six weeks and the holiday period has already begun.

GGDs

The GGDs could also be used, but then the question is whether holiday tests are part of the task of the GGD, which focuses on public health care.

The Ministers therefore continue to have difficulties with the wishes of the Chamber. โ€œThe Cabinet concludes that the implementation of the motion will lead to risks of unlawfulness and fraud at present. Of course, the cabinet will do everything it can to control it as best as possible, but unfortunately the cabinet cannot rule it out.โ€