Maandelijks archief: september 2016

Prinsjesdag: What is the plan?

 

Prinsjesdag (little prince’s day) is the day when the current monarch (at this point in time: King Willem-Alexander) reads ‘de Troonrede’ (speech from the throne). This speech includes all the main plans and decisions made by the government policy for the coming parliamentary session. The speech is given in ‘de Ridderzaal’ (Knight’s hall) in Den Haag (The Hague) at 12:30 on the third Tuesday of September. The people of the Dutch Senate, House of Representatives and some other invited people are in ‘de Ridderzaal’ as well and the speech is recorded and broadcasted on television.

Picture 1.1: Troonrede. At the right is the throne where King Willem-Alexander reads ‘de Troonrede’ to ‘de Staten Generaal’. Notice the fancy hats that women are wearing

Did you know that ‘Prinsjesdag’ has a weird and special tradition: Females wear all kinds of extravagant hats? From small to big, red to green, round to square, everything is possible. (See picture 1.1)

After ‘de Troonrede’ the king steps into a golden carriage and is then escorted to ‘het Binnenhof’. Although, this year carriage wasn’t the golden carriage because it contained images representing slavery. Instead, a Glass carriage was chosen. At the ‘Noordeinde Palace’, the king and queen appear at a balcony saluting the crowd beneath them.

Afterwards, the minister of finance proposes ‘de Miljoenennota’ (budget memorandum) to the house of representatives. This is a summary of the national budget showing all the expected revenues and expenses for the upcoming year. Debates about the Dutch economy, public finance, influence of the plans, deficit(s) and other topics follow the presentation.

Some of the plans from for the coming year are the following:

  • The minimum earnings of people from 21 or older are going to be abolished in steps so that those people can earn a full loan.
  • 100 million euros are going to be spent supporting the poorer children to make it possible for them to go on school trips, join a club, have music lessons etc.
  • Planned cuts in the care of handicapped and long during elderlies are being scrapped.
  • There is extra money available for equal chances in education.
  • Problems around earthquakes caused by gas extraction in the province of Groningen are being reduced by strengthening the building in the area and by cutting the gas extraction rate in half.
  • Because of climate changing, investments are done on researching and installing environmental-friendly ways of producing energy.
  • The Netherlands is working on improving the cooperation of the European union.
  • The Netherlands is also working on controlling the stream of refugees in different ways. The priority is at giving the refugees shelter.

(source: Rijksoverheid)

What became clear to me whilst writing these point and reading the plans, is that the Netherlands is very well recovering from the crisis and has a lot of money to spend. It all seems very positive. But of course, there wouldn’t be positive if there was no negative. Hiding behind the sunny view on the situation that the Netherlands is in, are some darker patches that I think are important to think about. One of them is about the environmental-friendly production of energy. While it is true that the use of wind, sun, water and other energies is increasing, it is still only a small amount. At this point in time, only around 5% of all produced energy is sustainable energy. The goal is set at 14% in 2020. Which almost triples the percentage, but the government is still looking into Gas-fired power plants and Coal-fired power plants. If we want sustainable energy, why would we still build and maintain those power plants? Money isn’t the problem, as the government seems to have enough at this point in time. Of course, there are many other factors playing here, but I think a lot more can be done to achieve a bigger percentage of sustainable energy production.

Another quite controversial point on the list is the refugee problem. Yes, the Dutch are actively helping the refugees and the government is actively cooperating in solving the problem, but I think there are wrong priorities in this case: As previously mentioned, the main focus is on giving and improving shelter for the refugees. This is a good thing, that’s for sure, but there are other (and I personally think better) ways to solve the problem. The one that would work the best is taking away the reason which makes the people flee. My opinion is that the United Nations should put even more effort into combating terrorism. Because to me, that seems the most effective solution. A downside to my vision is that this idea is probably not the easiest to realize, and it is impossible to wipe out all of the terrorism and other problems. Still, I think that the priority should be on this topic because we can make a difference!

In the end, ‘de Troonrede’ and ‘de Miljoenennota’ made clear in what economic state the Netherlands is in. We are recovering from the economic crisis again and actively improving life in society. On an international scale, things are still unstable, but our little country stands strong against it and is taking part in improving the outside situation. To me, it appears that we haven’t found the best balance between supporting on the national or international scale, but we are really close.

Sources:

https://www.rijksoverheid.nl/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prinsjesdag

http://vorige.nrc.nl//dossiers/energie_en_milieu/kernenergie/article1642699.ece/We_kunnen_in_Nederland_niet_zonder_kernenergie

https://www.google.nl/imghp?hl=nl&tab=wi&authuser=0&ei=RIrtV8iVNMmuat36hPgJ&ved=0EKouCBQoAQ

http://www.nu.nl/prinsjesdag/4125664/liveblog-gesloten-alles-prinsjesdag.html

 

Author: Rick van de Sande                                                                                                     

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Prinsjesdag: new budget, new plans

Most households, countries and businesses make a review of the investments and income of last year and make a plan what will be next year’s investments and income. Not only the income and investments are important to discuss, it is also essential to have a look at the way problems can be solved. For example when there is a discussion.

In the Netherlands there is a national day for this event which is called “Prinsjesdag” (Little prince day). This day is every year on the 3rd Tuesday of September. Prinsjesdag consists of multiple events happening: the “miljoenennota”(budget), General debate and the monarch’s speech.

The monarch’s role

The monarch, Willem-Alexander, will read the monarch’s speech in front of the people of the first chamber, second chamber, the state’s general chamber and other guests such as the press and citizens. The monarch’s speech is held at the Ridderzaal, which is at the Binnenhof in The Hague. The monarch’s speech is about what the government policy will be upcoming year.

The Miljoenennota (Budget)

The Miljoenennota (which for the rest of this article I will refer to as the Budget), includes the most important plans for the upcoming year and what they approximately shall cost. It also has a look at how the Dutch economy is doing and what probably will happen the upcoming year. For example if there will be an economic growth or an economic contraction.

Plans for the upcoming parliamentary year

There has been a great improvement according to the monarch’s speech. More people have a job (the percentage of unemployment decreased), the minimum loan for young adults will be the same. There are plans to stop the smuggling of people by boat, so our country (working together with other countries) can regulate the refugees coming to the west. By regulating the refugees and the patrols on the water, less people will drown during the dangerous routes. Other plans are about the problems with the extraction of natural gas in Groningen. This will be half the volume extracted compared to 2012.

The upcoming parliamentary year there will be more money compared to a few years ago, because the economy is growing and therefore there is more money to spend.

What I think about some plans of the budget

In this paragraph I will discuss and share my opinion on two plans of the budget.

The plans to invest more for the children that live in poverty so they can follow music lessons, join a sport club and can join school trips is in my opinion a good investment. I think this is a good investment because when I was younger I had music lessons and I learned not only a lot about music, but also got to know new people. Also when I got older music was, and still is, a way to express myself. It is important for everyone to have a chance to do what they would want to do.

Also sport is important, not only for your health, but also for your social contacts and skills. It is nice to have some friends around you and to be able to talk to someone who has the same interests. I think everyone deserves that chance.

Another plan is to cut the savings on long-term care. My opinion is that this a good plan, because this way some people have the chance to recover from a severe disease or live longer and have more and better care compared to when the savings were not cut.

Final word

I did some research about what people think about the monarch’s speech. Some have some a critical point of view and others are more positive, depending on for example their political preference or point of view.

Sources:

https://www.rijksoverheid.nl/actueel/nieuws/2016/09/20/miljoenennota-2017-nederland-staat-er-een-stuk-beter-voor

https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prinsjesdag

Author: Daphne Mathijsen

 

Prinsjesdag, the revealing of the comming year

Every Afbeeldingsresultaat voor prinsjesdag 2016third Tuesday of September, the annual ‘Prinsjesdag’ is being celebrated. This includes the King giving a speech called ‘The Troonrede’ at the ‘Ridderzaal’. This is taking place in a special joint meeting of the State’s General (the 1st and 2nd chambers). The king will be driving around in his (this year) glass coach and the ‘Miljoenennota’ will be presented by the minister of finances to the 2nd chamber, which then will later be considered in the ‘General Debate’. The opposition will criticise the various proposals and later on, the chamber will vote for these proposals.

The king doesn’t have a lot of power these days, he is a more of a role model. The king only reads out the ‘Troonrede’ and drives around in his usually golden coach, but this year the glass coach has been used. This is due to slavery images that are located on the golden coach, which has caused some criticism.

Maybe the most important event of ‘Prinsjesdag’ is the ‘Miljoenennota’ being presented by the minister of finances. The ‘Miljoenennota’ contains  content of the in- and outcomes for the new governmental year called ‘de Begrotingen’. The ‘Miljoenennota’ is actually expressed in Billions of Euros, instead of millions.

This year not only The Netherlands but the entire world has been shocked by the tremendous amount of terrorism and war in the world. Conflicts in Syria and other nearby countries have caused millions of people to flee to other countries where they do have an opportunity to survive, but before they can reach their destination they have to travel for weeks. The combination of terrorism and refugees coming into the country have caused extra awareness of safety precautions in the Netherlands. This is shown in the ‘miljoenenota’ (source: Rijksoverheid).

The Netherlands is in the middle of a recovery from the economic crisis, and we are still noticing the wounds. This means that The Netherlands are investing in for example  innovative and developing companies(NU.nl) The unemployment isn’t increasing anymore, this means that the Netherlands has got a bright future as was told in the ‘troonrede’. Although many politicians would still like to focus on the fact that The current (economic) situation still isn’t what it is supposed to be (PVV, PVDA).

One of the other budgets that has been increased is the budget for environment. The entire world has been hit by major climate changes, the Netherlands has adapted to this problem and is spending more money on the preservation of the current climate, so further escalation is being prevented. There will also be invested in the strengthening of the dikes, due to climate changes which can occur later on, such as the increasing of the sea level (The DeltaPlan).

I think the maintenance of the safety of our country is of major importance. With the current refugee crisis the chance is increasing that, for example, a terrorist will enter the country.  It is always better to prevent than to await a problem. Waiting until a terrorist attack will happen to later solve it will eventually also cost lots of money due to repairing costs etc. The entire nation is in panic, and as The government, it is their duty to create a more peaceful society. This doesn’t mean that all refugees are terrorists, but it means that the refugees coming into the country causes a gateway for terrorists to spread.

The Netherlands are now investing in the growth  of job opportunities, so the unemployment rate will decrease. I also believe that the way for doing this is investing. There will also be an amount of money invested in the growth of smaller companies. This means that it will be more attractive for people to start their own companies, this will cause more job opportunities. Also, the increasing budget of infrastructure will cause more vacates in the building department.

The Netherlands has got a lot on their plate due to the current refugee crisis and the previous economic crisis, this means that it is important to remain a balance between safety and a healthy business market, by investing in various (also small projects) the Netherlands will keep growing as a (multicultural) nation.

Author: Amber Aerts