Published On: Tue, Dec 21st, 2021

New Dutch government wants to contribute to economic development

THE HAGUE — The fourth Rutte-cabinet wants to contribute to the economic development in St. Maarten, Aruba and Curacao through guarantee regulations of the National Service for Entrepreneurial Netherlands (NVO), the National Growth Fund and regulations for sustainable energy production. These regulations will be open for applications from everywhere in the Kingdom. This appears from the governing accord VVD, CDA, D66 and Christian Union signed mid-December.

The 50-page document emphasizes that St. Maarten, Aruba and Curacao are constitutionally autonomous and that they have their own responsibility for good governance and proper public finances. “The relationship between the three countries and the Netherlands is based on reciprocity. Due to the pandemic and its consequences, there is an urgent need for the strengthening and improvement of good governance and public finances. We keep making efforts from the Netherlands to work on good governance, the tackling of corruption and the sustainable strengthening of the economies and the education systems based on sustainable agreements,” the accord states.

The new government also wants to end the democratic deficit in the Kingdom by creating space for a “proportionate vote” of the Caribbean countries. It promises furthermore to put accessibility to elections for the European parliament for eligible voters on a par with their access to elections in European Netherlands.

The accord also promises that the new government will continue to make efforts to let Bonaire, Statia and Saba be “an equal part of the Netherlands.”

Points of attention are strengthening of the labor market, with special attention for the position of youngsters and fighting poverty. Measures are in the work to make life more affordable. The social minimum will come under review, by increasing social benefits (onderstand) and by keeping utilities affordable. The switch towards sustainable energy will be sped up and the sewage systems and potable water facilities will be improved, “so that the fixed costs for utilities go down.”

The government will also support projects aimed to increase local agriculture to decrease the need for food imports. Another focus area is ecotourism, a field that offers, according to the governing accord, “enormous opportunities.”

Lastly, the accord states that the new government will improve the protection of “the unique culture and nature of Bonaire, Saba and Statia” – above and below the water.

The government will structurally invest €30 million ($33.9 million) in all these projects, though it is unclear whether this is a one-time impulse or an annually returning investment.


Photo caption: Photo taken from DossierKoninkrijksrelaties.nl.