Rutte fell, got up and came up with ‘radical ideas’: what happened?

Prime Minister Rutte has never been under so much fire before during the famous ‘function elsewhere’ debate, Easter last year. He had to fight late into the night to regain trust after the leak of the ‘job elsewhere’ note about Pieter Omtzigt of which he had ‘no active memory’.

Promised recovery

Rutte came out of the debate badly damaged, but remained prime minister. He had, however, started thinking about his management style. Over Easter weekend last year, he announced “radical ideas”:

What were those ideas? More debate and transparency. And a clearer separation between cabinet and parliament. The human dimension would again come first. And there would be no more agreements about pensions and the climate to which parliament can only say ‘yes’ in the end.

Rutte also argued for a ‘club between the cabinet and the House’ that helps citizens if they have a problem with executive organizations. “The government will then have a more human face again.”

‘Not enough yet’

We are one year further. What has changed? “Pretty little”, concludes Wim Voermans, professor of constitutional and administrative law. “It’s not enough yet.”

Voermans sees almost nothing of the promise to be more transparent there. “The House is simply still not fully informed. And when information is released, it is often with the handbrake on.”

Voermans cites the debate about the face mask deal with minister Hugo de Jonge as an example: “The House has been asking for the underlying documents for months, but they were only released on the order of the minister.”

‘Rutte not changed’

SP MP Renske Leijten does not see any radical changes either. “I don’t think Rutte has changed last year either,” says the critical MP. Leijten is also looking for the cause in Rutte’s party: the VVD. “The VVD continues to protect its ministers and keep them out of the wind. The Zwarte Piet is soon placed with the House.”

See also  those who prefer Pfizer may have to wait a month -

Isn’t that also due to the fierceness with which the opposition sometimes attacks cabinet members during debates? “I find that so easy,” says Leijten. “We always say: you can always make mistakes, but confess it, be honest and fix it.”

Be honest and open

The SP sees things that are going better, positive things: “The changes are very dependent on the person and the attitude. I certainly see good developments. The ministers I speak to for my portfolios are open, do not ignore the matter and communicate better. But radical change; no, I really don’t see that.”

A lot is still of the old, she thinks. Example: “This week it was announced that the Tax and Customs Administration was using discriminatory criteria to determine fraud risks. The ministers concerned had known this for a year and a half, but they kept quiet about it. Then tell me, I think. Be honest, open, confess and recover. your mistakes.”

She does think that the MPs support each other better; opposition and government parties. “We support each other in requesting debates and if the government does not deliver.”

Leijten really only sees the human dimension in words. “It’s on paper and it’s said, but it doesn’t get you anywhere.”

Not everything in silence anymore

Voermans is slightly more positive on that point. He considers the energy surcharge of 800 euros for poor people and the lowering of fuel prices a good example. “But there is still no hotline where parents of the allowance affair can be reunited with their children.”

In that debate about, for example, the energy surcharge, you also see that the House is included in the process. “Not everything is negotiated in silence anymore. In the past, the House sometimes received a pre-cooked agreement with the message: you have to do it with this.”

See also  Fuel prices remain at a high level

‘We are working hard on it’

How does Rutte think it is going? “We are working hard on it,” the prime minister said during his weekly press conference. “For example, because we make everything public. I don’t want that alone, the entire cabinet wants that.”

The prime minister continued: “When we make decisions, we look at what alternatives we have and we publish the underlying documents. We strive for a more relaxed relationship between civil servants and the House of Representatives.”

Another cabinet member admits that it is sometimes still difficult for the new team of ministers to find out exactly what this new administrative culture entails. And how exactly the promised dualism (separation between parliament and cabinet) works in practice.

During a debate about additional purchasing power support a few weeks ago, the opposition complained that only plans by the ruling parties had a chance. Dozens of alternative proposals from the opposition, one by one, the cabinet dismissed.

Kaag and Rutte

Last week, Finance Minister Sigrid Kaag said that she and Rutte want to talk to the opposition about the spring memorandum. Setbacks and unexpected expenses leave a hole of billions of euros in the budget. After negotiations within the coalition, Kaag and Rutte also want to consult the opposition to see whether there is support for the chosen solution.

very difficult

Changing a governance culture is also extremely difficult, says public administration expert Gerrit Dijkstra of Leiden University. This does not only apply to politics, but to all corporate cultures.

See also  China told what to prepare for the Russians

“A culture is deeply rooted, something intangible and something that has been created for years and you cannot just change that. That is very difficult. For that you need concrete ideas. How are you going to do that, with whom and what do you want to achieve? If you become very concrete, you will never get a completely new culture.”

Will it work?

Will it ever work? “Only if you have very concrete ideas and know exactly how you are going to implement them. And even then it is something that takes years.” Leijten is gloomy: “As long as Rutte and the VVD continue to come to power, there will be no radical changes,” says the SP.

The protagonist himself, Mark Rutte, remains positive: “It is a quest. Not only between the cabinet and the House, but also between the House and the Cabinet. But we are working hard on it. Every day.”



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Social Media

Most Popular

On Key

Related Posts