The plans of Van der Wal and her colleague Minister Staghouwer (Agriculture) are under extensive fire in the House of Representatives on Thursday. Right-wing opposition parties in particular are flying hard, especially the normally constructive SGP.
“The nitrogen plans are a slap in the face for the entire agricultural sector,” says SGP MP Bisschop. “In many areas, we need to reduce to 95 percent in seven years. It inevitably leads to expropriation dramas.”
MP Omtzigt, among other things, has serious questions about the high reduction targets for the Wadden Islands, where ‘there is often no intensive agriculture’. “Shouldn’t that be corrected?”
In any case, many parties are targeting the map issued by Minister Van der Wal, which indicates for each area how much nitrogen emissions must be reduced.
“Banks no longer want to give farmers financing”
According to BBB leader Van der Plas, ‘no beet’ is correct on the map. She argues that the current nitrogen plans for banks are reason to ‘tighten the stranglehold for farmers even tighter’. “Banks no longer want to give farmers financing.”
Parties also measure each other and the coalition does not spare each other. For example, D66 MP De Groot came under fire after his party leader Paternotte said last weekend that the cabinet should not allow itself to be ‘paralyzed’ by ‘simmering provinces’.
“That is unnecessarily polarizing: gossip”, sneezes CU Member of Parliament Grinwis. “How does Mr De Groot think that such a remark contributes to the transition?” asks CDA member Boswijk.
De Groot, in turn, immediately hits CU member Grinwis with the statement of CU party leader Segers, who said he feared a ‘civil war in a civilized way’ for nitrogen. “I think that’s just throwing fuel on the fire.”
CU minister Staghouwer also gets a kick out of it from D66. De Groot thinks the minister’s plans for the future of farmers are still inadequate. “I don’t think any farmer understood it. You don’t know where you stand.” VVD MP Van Campen also misses Staghouwer’s ‘despite many words’. His party colleague Grinwis is slightly more lenient, but also believes that the plans ‘need to become more concrete’.
Van der Wal herself immediately comes up with soothing words in her answers. “We will not let the farmers down,” says the minister. “They can count on our support, also financially.” The VVD member emphasizes that other sectors will also have their turn: “All sectors must contribute equally.”
“We will not let the peasants fall”
And she also repeats that the targets on the offending ‘nitrogen map’ are still ‘indicative’: “Reduction of nitrogen is not a goal in itself, our goal is to restore nature.” According to her, there is still a year to ‘refine’ the plans: nitrogen emissions in the Netherlands should be halved by 2030, but the way in which this is done is still under discussion.
On the other hand, Van der Wal also keeps its feet firm when it comes to nitrogen reduction. “We have no choice. It is a terrible message, but it is necessary. We knew this moment would come.”