Last week, Van Nieuwenhuizen announced that she will be stepping down as minister of infrastructure and water management and will start serving as president of Energie-Nederland, the industrial association of energy companies, starting October 1. This led to a storm of criticism, but also to the conclusion that Van Nieuwenhuizen did nothing against the rules.
This is now leading to a review of those rules in several parliamentary blocs. From the PvdA, SP, D66 and JA21, there are now questions with Prime Minister Rutte about regulations regarding the lobbying activities of former ministers. The interrogators question the transfer of Van Nieuwenhuizen, who may have been familiar with information of interest to the energy sector during her tenure as minister.
It became clear last week that regulations on pressure in the Netherlands are unclear and lagging behind those in the rest of Europe. Although it is too late for a ban on Van Nieuwenhuizen, the parties behind the parliamentary questions believe that changing the regulations is necessary for the future. D66 and PvdA expect action from the PM. They are waiting for his answers to questions before deciding whether the House of Representatives itself should take action.
According to the four parties, the best example of this is the European Parliament regulations, which state that ministers are not allowed to move to another position in the sector in which they have served for eighteen months after their departure. If it comes up to JA21, this period in the Netherlands will be extended to four years.
MP Rinsky Lijten (SP) would like to see a broad breakdown of the lobbying ban, which she believes would also apply to MPs. She announced that she will demand in the House of Representatives this week to change something. In any case, she believes that ministers and representatives should approach their positions differently. “If you see it as a job that you can only incorporate for a while, you treat it with disgrace.”
That the position of minister is not a job but an office, this is the opinion of MP PvdA and former Speaker of Parliament Khadija Arib (PvdA). You must have serious reasons to stop early. You serve the country. Taking it lightly damages confidence in politicians. According to a PvdA spokesperson, the party is now working on proposals to tighten regulations. In response to previous parliamentary questions, Interior Minister Olungren promised to reach a tightening of restrictions on departing ministers in the near future.
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