Filleletter: the issue of subsidy application Groningen embarrassing

Secretary of State Vijlbrief (Mining) calls the course of events last week around the grant application of residents of Groningen โ€œan embarrassing displayโ€. โ€œThat‘s why we added extra money,โ€ he said in the provincial house in Groningen, on the first day of his work visit.

Residents of the earthquake area were able to apply for a subsidy of 10,000 euros last Monday for improvement of their home, but that ended in a mess. People lined up for hours and there was hardly any way through it online too.

In addition, the subsidy amount of 220 million euros was far from sufficient, so many households fished behind the net. The cabinet therefore announced a few days later that the amount will be increased by 250 million euros.

New low

โ€œI felt ashamed of the government, that’s not how it should be,โ€ says Vijlbrief. โ€œIt doesn‘t have to be like that anymore and it won’t be like that in the next round.โ€ Last week, the Secretary of State wrote in a letter of Parliament that he regrets the course of events.

At a press conference, the brand new secretary of state discussed what he plans to do in Groningen:

The vote among the Groningers fell to a new low at the beginning of this month. The previous, outgoing cabinet announced at the last minute that more gas may need to be extracted from the Groningenveld this year than planned. According to the Ministry of Economic Affairs, this is necessary to fulfil obligations to Germany.

Not words but actions

Vijlbrief is going to see if something can be changed about the intention. Among other things, he wants to talk to his German counterpart. โ€œI don‘t promise anything, but I’m going to do my best for it. I am a man of action, not words.โ€

The intention for extra gas extraction and the hassle around the subsidy scheme were reason for many Groningen on Saturday to take to the streets.

Thousands of people protested with torches in the center of the provincial capital, to demand more respect from politics The Hague:

โ€œThat torch procession made a deep impression on me,โ€ said Vijlbrief. โ€œI see it as an honor that I am allowed to try to put an end to the legitimate dissatisfaction that is often there.โ€ He did say that it is not arranged today on tomorrow.

Tomorrow, the Secretary of State will discuss with the interest groups Groninger Soil Movement and the Groninger Gasberaad.