Prime Minister Rutte is displeased by several opposition parties to let King Willem-Alexander waive the annual increase in his income. He calls the request cheap. “The royal family is a vulnerable and fragile asset,” Rutte said in the annual debate about the kings budget, where the kings salary is often the subject of discussion.
In this debate, it is mainly a few right-wing parties such as JA21 and MP Van Haga, but also the Party for the Animals, Denk and Bij1 that are emphatically asking for a salary discount for the king, Queen Máxima and Princess Beatrix. They will receive an extra 2 million euros in 2023 and the parties think that is too much, partly due to the energy crisis.
The king is facing an image problem, notes JA21 party leader Eerdmans. “We are making a moral appeal. The sentiment is alive now. Refusing it could help his image?” , says Eerdmans.
Denk thinks the salary increase is unfair. “There are people with an empty stomach who cant pay their energy bills,” says Van Baarle van Denk. Bij1 finds the Oranjes a symbol of inequality. “Support is falling steadily and the wage increase should not continue,” said Simons van Bij1.
Prime Minister Rutte believes that the parties are presenting the issue too simplistically. The king also faces higher costs, says the prime minister. “When people hear about an increase of 2 million euros, they think this is a lot, but that money is also used for staff and the company. There are hundreds of people working there.”
The Prime Minister is also not concerned about the declining popularity of the royal family. In April, a survey by research firm Ipsos showed that less than half of the Dutch were confident in Willem-Alexanders functioning. He received the report figure 6.7, significantly lower than 7.7 in 2020.
In the debate, ruling party D66 points to “declining support” for the monarchy and believes this is caused by some incidents in the two corona years, such as the trip to Greece and Princess Amalias busy birthday.
Rutte says that polls and popularity figures are snapshots. “Sometimes such numbers give hope, sometimes it humbles you.” D66 MP Faster understands the relativiating remarks, but warns: “Sometimes its risky to act too laconic.”
Government parties VVD, CDA and the ChristenUnie are, as usual, positive about the importance of the monarchy. According to the VVD, the Oranjes are an “added value”, thus referring to Queen Máximas working visit to the United States. “All attention goes to the queen, where she works for the BV Netherlands.”