Dutch economic min. to resign; says left-right coalition is failing

Henk Kamp (Photo: Rijksoverheid.nl/Wikimedia Commons). (Henk Kamp (Photo: Rijksoverheid.nl/Wikimedia Commons))

Minister Henk Kamp of Economic Affairs is leaving politics after the next parliamentary election scheduled for March 2017. He no longer wants to be a minister and he will not be returning to parliament, a spokesperson confirmed to NU after Kamp announced his departure on political talk show Politiek in de Pol.

Kamp also stated that there are doubts within the cabinet about whether the current cabinet will reach the end of its term and that the last year will be a tough one. "The cooperation with the PvdA is no longer as good as it was at the start, so we have to solve problems. As the elections get closer it becomes increasingly difficult to find solutions", the Minister said. "The last year is always more difficult. Because the parties want to present themselves and the differences are made larger rather than smaller."

One example of the increasingly strained relationship between the coalition of the VVD and PvdA is in Kamp's own policy. The PvdA lead the Tweede Kamer, lower house of parliament, to demand that subsidies to coal-plants for the co-firing of biomass be suspended until it is clear which coal plants will close. But Kamp fears that if this is done the targets for the Energy Agreement - 14 percent sustainable energy by 2020 - will not be reached. "I have to continue quickly with the biomass to be able to reach the first targets in 2020. That means that I am now really worried. If I do that (agree to the Tweede Kamer's demand, ed), I don't think the 14 percent will be reached."

The 63-year-old Kamp has been in politics for more than 30 years. He started his political career as a councilor for the VVD in Borculo. After that he was, among other things, a member of State and a parliamentarian. He is currently the Minister of Economic Affairs in the Rutte II cabinet. In recent years Kamp was in the news due to gas extraction and earthquakes in Groningen. He limited gas extraction in the province to 27 billion cubic meters for this year. Last year a maximum of 30 million cubic meters was extracted. In December he suffered a defeat in the Eerste Kamer, the Dutch senate, when his plans for offshore wind farms were rejected by the smallest possible majority - 38 against, 37 for.

"I've worked since I was 19, so next year 46 years. I spent 38 years in politics. Suppose I would still like to do another nice job, would that be wrong? I don't think so." he said on the talk show.