The Cabinet acknowledges that things have gone wrong in the fight against the coronavirus in recent months. In a debate with the House of Representatives, Prime Minister Rutte said that too much emphasis has been placed on the responsibility of people themselves. The Prime Minister also acknowledged that communication from the Cabinet could have been better. And the measures themselves could have been more robust, Rutte admitted.
In the debate, both opposition and government parties, there was strong criticism of the governments actions. Pvda leader Asscher called the leadership of Prime Minister Rutte “wailing and casual. Asscher believes that the cabinet intervened too late and too lightly, which, according to him, is now more damaging. PVV leader Wilders finds it terrible that we now “live in a country where ambulances with sick people are expelled from the emergency room. Because there are no beds. It cant be.”
SP leader Marijnissen denounted the shearing of debt to the population. “The stubborn Dutchman who would not listen and is guilty? Big nonsense! Lets look at what the Cabinet does itself.”
Marijnissen then spoke of a Minister of Justice who “is lacking in his own coronare rules”, a Minister of Health who “has not yet managed to get the basics of testing and source and contact research in order”, and a Prime Minister who “is bothering Dutch people who do not listen to urgent advice about, for example, a mouthcap. But mouthcaps have been said for months that they offer false safety.”
Green Left leader Jesse Klaver said he had no confidence that things will be okay. He asked the Cabinet to appoint an additional minister for, for example, test policy. Rutte does not think such an extra minister is needed, and said that the test capacity is almost in order.
There was also criticism from the government parties. D66 leader Jetten believes that the Cabinet should come up with something to better let people live the quarantine measures. Christian Union leader Seegers believes that the Cabinet should have intervened much earlier in the case of the ascending contamination. “When the numbers increase, it also requires decisiveness,” said Seegers.
Rutte also acknowledged that stronger measures could have been taken, but he does not think that the cabinet was too late.
“ The timing was not wrong. The package was not heavy enough.” According to Rutte, it is too easy to say that the number of infections has increased in recent weeks due to government failure. He called it a “sum of all kinds of factors, including the behaviour of citizens”. And thus also looked at himself. “I have not been able to convey much-needed behavioural change to the population clearly and personally enough.”
Look back here how Rutte acknowledged mistakes have been made.
From now on, the cabinet promises to get better and says to get back together more often in order to be able to respond more quickly to developments. According to Rutte, the new roadmap will also help.
The debate took place after the Cabinet had announced a day earlier measures to counter the sharp increase in the number of infections. The catering industry is closed completely, there is a ban on alcohol from 20.00 hours, sports are on tires and the group size is further limited. These measures themselves can count on the support of a majority of the Court.
The Cabinet is still considering whether more support measures are needed for entrepreneurs who are in trouble as a result of the new measures. Prime Minister Rutte emphasises that the existing support packages are already adapted to the current scenario. But he does not rule out “that more needs to be done”.
Minister Van Ark for Medical Care and Sport met the Chamber in his criticism of the closure of the womens football league in the top division, while the competition continues with the men. Van Ark wants to level this up and goes to the table with the KNVB to arrange for the corona measures to be introduced in the womens competition, so that the women can play again.
Look back here the live blog about the course of the debate.
Take a look at the videos of the debate on Wednesday evening.