Far-reaching reforms are needed in legislation, implementation and justice in order to prevent a new allowance affair. This puts the Council of Europe in a confidential report on democracy and the rule of law in the Netherlands, which has been recognised by RTL Nieuws and Trouw.
The draft report cracks hard notes on a political and official culture in which information was withheld and MPs in their work hampered by coalition coalition coercion.
This administrative attitude must change, the report states: “It should be seen as acceptable and actually normal for MPs to represent parliament as an institution and that participating in parliamentary control is not an act of deloyality.”
The Council of Europe is also critical of the functioning of the House of Representatives itself. As a co-legislator, it would not have taken sufficient account of the basic principles of good governance, such as reasonableness and fairness when drafting the fee system act.
The Chamber also asked for an investigation into the Tax Authorities in response to the payment affair. That was done by two external lawyers. They conclude that there is a culture of anxiety among the tax authorities, which makes it difficult to prevent and report abuses. Officials who want to express criticism are alarful that they are putting their careers at risk.
The Tax Office report was sent to the House of Representatives this afternoon, NRC wrote about it last night. Tax phone employees who pass down harrowing stories of citizens to executives are told that “the laws and regulations are.” According to the report, management and staff seem to live in separate worlds.
Secretaries of State Want Open Culture
In a comment, the demissionary secretaries of state Vijlbrief and Van Huffelen write to the Chamber that “it must be natural that employees feel safe to send signals in a timely manner and that they hear what happens to them within reasonable time limits”. But they acknowledge thats not always the case yet. “We remain committed to achieving an open and inclusive culture,” write Vijlbrief and Van Huffelen.
Tonight, the Chamber is debating with the Cabinet about the recovery operation following the child care allowance affair. Yesterday, the National Ombudsman also criticised the operation. “Parents are still stuck, recovery is slow and the system is too complicated,” he said.