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The Ministry of Agriculture has not yet received approval from the European Commission for a new procurement scheme for farmers who want to stop their businesses. The Minister for Nitrogen and Nature, Van der Waal, confirmed a report at the NRC that her ministry is still discussing this with Brussels.
The Minister acknowledges that Brussels has doubts about a number of aspects of the regulation that relate to state assistance. “If the state aid is illegal, the farmers have to pay it back, and that’s the last thing we want.” Van der Waal believes she can work on the problem with the European Commission. “But it’s taking a little longer than expected.”
Since the new mass purchase order has not yet been applied, I have extended an earlier order. It was supposed to expire at the beginning of next month, but that will now be in December. According to van der Waal, the counties negotiate with farmers based on this prior arrangement. If this arrangement is to come to an end, the conversations have to start again later, and she wants to avoid that.
Full confidence in the results of the cabinet discussion of nitrogen
Van der Waal made her remarks before a cabinet meeting on the budget. She was confident that the Cabinet would come up with the nitrogen policy. Yesterday, the House of Representatives discussed previous statements by CDA leader and Minister Hoekstra that it was not sacrosanct for his party to halve nitrogen emissions by 2030.
The main conclusion of the debate was that the coalition parties continue to support the coalition agreement (in which it was agreed that emissions should be reduced by 50 percent by 2030), but at the same time Hoekstra did not back down from his statements. Both Hoekstra and Prime Minister Rutte acknowledged this was “messing around”.
Step by Step
Under the leadership of Johann Remix, the Cabinet is holding talks with various organizations about nitrogen problems. Van der Waal reiterated this morning that the government supports the coalition agreement and that Remix’s conclusions are now awaited. According to her, this is a clear sentence: “Now it’s step by step and I’m really confident.”
The minister also said that the discussion is often about “the last kilometer before the final stop”. But she stressed that “speed is required to grant licenses and build houses.”
D66 leader and Deputy Prime Minister Kag, who was unable to attend the debate yesterday due to illness, described it as important this afternoon for the Cabinet to abide by the agreements. “We will be judged on what we offer, on the solutions we provide and on the reliability we must offer as a cabinet.”
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