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Dutch citizens heard the plans for 2023-2024 from caretaker cabinet of Mark Rutte. The statement made by King Willem Alexander was clearly a speech about the legacy of thirteen years Mark Rutte as Conservative VVD leader, a divisive Prime Minister w ho was not available for lower income groups, human rights, green energy transition and security of livelihood.

In the speech by the King there was no mention of The Netherlands and the City of The Hague as the universal city of Peace.

Prepared speech to members of the nation's joint legislature the Senate and Lower House Parliament

1. Introduction

Members of the States General,

Ten years ago I was allowed to deliver the Speech from the Throne for the first time in your midst. Ten years that I look back on with gratitude. Some events were poignant and raw with sadness, such as the attack on flight MH17. At other times, emotion went hand in hand with healing and connection, such as this year on July 1, during the commemoration of the abolition of slavery. Of course I think of the corona period, which had such a profound impact on everyone's personal lives. And of course I think of the war in Ukraine. It is moments and events like this that will forever remain part of our history and that are etched in your and my memory.

In addition, there were the hundreds of heart-warming visits I was able to make throughout the Kingdom in these first ten years, with thousands of inspiring encounters. They made an unforgettable impression on me. Time and again, the Netherlands appears to be a country of enterprising and initiative-rich people who want to do good for and with each other, in connection with their neighbors, village, city, association or region.

It is the same deep connection that I felt again during my last visit to the Caribbean part of the Kingdom. I am firmly convinced that the social fabric of our society deserves protection. There is a great unifying force in everything that people achieve together in the small, the everyday, the ordinary. Connection is created where people come together. This is not self-evident, but requires continued attention and commitment from all of us.

Anyone who looks at Dutch society from the outside sees at first glance an attractive country with good facilities and a strong economy, embedded in powerful international structures that protect and bring prosperity. But behind that positive image lies the permanent task to continue working on equality of opportunity, social security and prospects.

Not everyone takes a decent house, good health and a safe home situation for granted. Not every child gets the same opportunities for a good future and not every resident of our country feels heard and seen. There is still discrimination and racist exclusion in society. That is also why the processing of the history of slavery will remain high on the agenda throughout the Kingdom, especially after this commemoration year. So that after recognition and apology we can work together on healing, reconciliation and recovery.

2. The necessary happens

The outgoing status of the cabinet inevitably means restraint in making new proposals. The state of government finances and rising interest costs also force greater financial caution than in recent years. There are topics that require decisiveness in any case: the poverty issue, the recovery for benefit parents, the handling of the earthquake damage in Groningen, MH17 and support to Ukraine. In addition, the outgoing cabinet and the parliament share the responsibility to continue working on the other policy areas that affect us all, such as the construction of sufficient housing and good education. You can count on the government being prepared to do what is in the national interest, of course in good consultation and close coordination with you.

This means, first of all, that the government is taking approximately 2 billion euros in purchasing power measures to ensure that poverty does not increase. To prevent families with the lowest incomes from lagging behind in purchasing power in 2024, the housing allowance will increase. To combat child poverty, the child-related budget will be increased. The Energy Emergency Fund will also be extended, so that people who can no longer pay their energy bills have a safety net. In addition, the employed person's tax credit will be increased next year, so that working pays more. Extra money will be made available for the Caribbean Netherlands to combat poverty.

The cabinet's outgoing status should also not cause any delays in the handling of the benefits affair and the earthquake damage in Groningen. The government is doing everything it can to restore the suffering caused to people and families as effectively and as quickly as possible. In the benefits file, parents are given more control and more choices, so that they can move on with their lives more quickly. The residents of the earthquake area can count on that the agenda of damage repair and reinforcement, social measures and economic perspective will be implemented in good consultation.

3. Ukraine

Russia's brutal violence against the Ukrainian people in its illegal war of aggression against a sovereign neighboring country shows that achievements that seemed certain to us for decades are not. A battle is raging on Europe's eastern border for fundamental democratic and rule of law values. This battle also affects our own safety and future. Many Dutch people feel and show themselves involved with the Ukrainians.

The support for support for Ukraine remains as high as ever. And that is important, because the longer this war goes on, the more urgent humanitarian, military and financial assistance to Ukraine is needed. The Dutch government, in close cooperation with EU and NATO allies, continues to do everything possible to ensure that Russian aggression stops and Ukrainians can live in peace and freedom again.
The Netherlands is home to the International Criminal Court and therefore feels a special responsibility for preparing for the trial of war crimes. Due to the great importance of a strong NATO and a strong defense apparatus, the government will continue with the planned additional investments in the armed forces. Our support and thanks go out to our soldiers who work on peace and security worldwide.

After the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the European Union has shown that unity and geopolitical influence are an extension of each other. In a world of increasing threats and power politics, strengthened international cooperation is of great importance, both within the EU and with other like-minded countries, such as the United States. The Netherlands supports the principle of 'open strategic autonomy'. Europe must become less dependent on Russia, China and other countries. This applies, among other things, to energy, raw materials and medicines. That is as much a security issue as an economic issue.

4. International

The government is also working on economic resilience and reducing unwanted strategic dependencies in international trade policy. In the field of development cooperation, we focus on the root causes of poverty, terror, irregular migration and climate change. This not only contributes to achieving the United Nations' sustainable development goals, but also to stability and prosperity in the world.

Democracy, freedom and the rule of law are under pressure worldwide. Not only far away, but also on our own continent. It is all the more important that we cherish, protect and strengthen our own democratic constitutional state. It is unacceptable that organized crime undermines our society and infiltrates our streets, neighborhoods and businesses. Threats to journalists, lawyers, politicians and other guardians of the democratic constitutional state, from any angle, are unacceptable. This requires a continuous commitment to safety. For example, by stricter supervision of people in detention.

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Tue Sep 19th, 2023 at 08:04:09 PM EST

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