Remkes after nitrogen consultation: there is a strong crisis of confidence

LTO chairman Van der Tak says that the first exploratory conversation with nitrogen mediator Remkes, other farmers organizations and the cabinet has yielded โ€œtoo little at the momentโ€. According to him, there has been movement, but Prime Minister Rutte and the ministers involved did not offer enough in the end, he believes.

According to Van der Tak, the conversation was โ€œtough and heavyโ€. โ€œThe business is done for today,โ€ he said, โ€œIts really a huge task for our farms. We expect the cabinet to pick up the ball very vigorously.โ€

Nitrogen mediator Remkes said after the conversation that there is โ€œa strong crisis of confidenceโ€ in the Netherlands, and that it is not just about tackling the nitrogen problem. He said that at least a second conversation is needed to get out of the impasse. That conversation will take place in late August.

Reactions from Remkes, Rutte and Van der Tak in the picture:

Remkes said that even before he was appointed, he had the idea that relations between citizens and government โ€œwere not happyโ€, and when he got to work โ€œthat insight was deepenedโ€.

The โ€œindependent chairmanโ€, as his role is officially called, sees the cause in years of โ€œslowing policy,โ€ he says. Solving the nitrogen problem has also been advanced for years. He says he finds it completely understandable that farmers feel great uncertainty about their future.


asked whether it would help if the cabinet still wants to tinker with the nitrogen plans, Remkes replied: โ€œOf course, that can certainly take the cold out of the air. And in that respect, I hope that the homework that is being done now will lead to that.โ€

Ten organizations

In this first meeting, in addition to LTO, ten farmer organizations were at the table, representing around 2,500 farmers. With 30,000 members, LTO Nederland is by far the largest interlocutor. LTO also spoke on behalf of the action groups Agractie and Farmers Defence Force with 10,000 to 15,000 members each. The Netherlands has approximately 54,000 farmers.

Prime Minister Rutte and ministers Van der Wal (nitrogen), Staghouwer (agriculture) and Harbers (infrastructure) were present from the cabinet.

Rutte said afterwards that it was โ€œan open conversationโ€ โ€œwith a lot of emotions and great concernsโ€. According to him, the cabinet delegation apologised for the lack of communication around the card that was included in Van der Wals nitrogen plans on 10 June.

He also said that he does not want to talk about adjusting the cabinet plans yet. โ€œThe cabinet will provide a substantive explanation of why it wants 50 percent nitrogen reduction by 2030 and not only in 2035, as could be legally possible.โ€

The cabinet also wants to make agreements with the farmers organizations about a number of concrete problems, such as the so-called PAS detectors, the way in which nitrogen emissions are measured, the complex regulations for organic farmers and innovation techniques.

Longer than expected

The interlocutors sat together for over four hours in the provincial house in Utrecht. That was much longer than expected.

At the

beginning of July, Remkes was appointed as independent chairman for the discussion between farmers and cabinet about the nitrogen plans. The 71-year-old VVD member must ensure that the dialogue gets going again.

Also check out this timeline of the nitrogen crisis: