Prime Minister Rutte doesn‘t want to change the amount of the royal house’s salary. Nor does he want to explain in detail how King Willem-Alexander distributes the more than EUR 5 million for his staff and so-called “material costs”.
The Prime Minister believes that more openness is contrary to the Constitution. It states that the king has “the right to a life of his own”.
There is, demissionary Prime Minister Rutte writes in a letter to the House of Representatives “no reason” to talk to “evaluate” the level of income. There is also “no room” to provide detailed information on court expenses.
The House of Representatives has been pushing for more transparency about the budget of members of the Royal House for years. There is also a debate on the level of income of the King, Queen Máxima and Princess Beatrix.
To the surprise of government party D66, GroenLinks, SP and the Party for the Animals, the Oranges received five percent in the corona year 2021, as it turned out in a Chamber debate a year ago. “The height has been raising eyebrows for longer,” said D66 MP Faster at the time.
Rutte promised to think about the annual salary increase in that debate, but he was very reluctant. He feared that a discussion about that would soon become populist.
The Prime Minister would come up with a response in December 2020. And now – ten months later – he reports to the House of Representatives that he wants to leave everything with the old. It is up to the House of Representatives to arrange the matter differently, he stresses.
The House of Representatives also demanded in the House debate last year that there should at least be an insight into the so-called B component, the expenditure on the court. The Chamber feels that the ambiguity about this expenditure makes the king “unnecessarily vulnerable” to discussion. The Court of Auditors – which controls the Empire‘s expenditure – believes that every five years it is necessary to check whether the level of that B-component is “still appropriate”.
The Prime Minister promised to carry out the House of Representatives wish “sporty”. “I don’t see any objection in that,” was his initial response.
Now the Prime Minister appears to be little bit of a pain with the information requested. In the letter, he lists who is among the staff. These include the grand master, the court marshal, the stalmasters, the steward, the director of the royal collections and the secretaries. The material costs are not mentioned more than that they are used for “high representative activities”.
In more than a week, the House of Representatives will talk about the king‘s budget. Then it will be clear whether the Chamber will settle for the Prime Minister’s answers.