Nitrogen minister Van der Wal: new buyout scheme for farmers delayed

The Ministry of Agriculture does not yet have the approval of the European Commission for a new buyout scheme for farmers who want to quit their business. Minister Van der Wal for Nitrogen and Nature has confirmed a message in NRC that her ministry is still talking to Brussels about this.

The minister acknowledges that Brussels questions a number of aspects of the scheme that have to do with state aid. โ€œIf state support is illicit, farmers have to pay back, and that‘s the last thing we want.โ€ Van der Wal thinks she will work it out with the European Commission. โ€œBut it takes a little longer than hoped.โ€

Because the new buyout scheme is not there yet, it has extended a previous one. It was due to expire early next month, but that will now be December. According to Van der Wal, provinces are negotiating with farmers on the basis of that previous arrangement. If that arrangement were to stop, the conversations would have to start all over again later and she wants to prevent that.

All confidence in the outcome of nitrogen discussion cabinet

Van der Wal made her statements for a meeting of the cabinet on the budget. She said she is confident that the cabinet will come out with the nitrogen policy. Yesterday, the House of Representatives debated all day about previous statements by CDA leader and Minister Hoekstra that it is not sacred for his party to have halved nitrogen emissions by 2030.

The

main conclusion of the debate was that the coalition parties remain behind the coalition agreement (it was agreed that emissions should be reduced by 50 percent by 2030), but that at the same time Hoekstra does not take back his statements. Hoekstra and Prime Minister Rutte both acknowledged that this โ€œchafesโ€.

Step by step

Under the leadership of Johan Remkes, the cabinet is conducting discussions with various organizations about the nitrogen problems. Van der Wal reiterated this morning that the cabinet supports the coalition agreement and that Remkes’ conclusions are now awaited. According to her, that is a clear line: โ€œIt is step by step now and I am really confident in it.โ€

The minister also said that in the discussion it is often about โ€œthe last kilometer before the end stationโ€. But she emphasized that โ€œspeed is needed to be able to issue permits and to build housesโ€.

D66 leader and Deputy Prime Minister Kaag, who was not in the debate yesterday due to illness, called it important this afternoon that the cabinet adheres to the agreements. โ€œWe will be judged on what we deliver, the solutions we offer and the reliability we have to provide as a cabinet.โ€