Opposition annoyed at Justice Min. no-apology attitude

Ard van der Steur (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Rijksoverheid.nl). (Ard van der Steur (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Rijksoverheid.nl))

Opposition parties are getting annoyed with Ard van der Steur's attitude in the parliamentary debate on the terrorist attacks in Brussels. Numerous parties demanded that he acknowledges mistakes that were made. But the Ministry of Security of Justice maintains that his ministry did nothing wrong, but improvements will be made.

The debate surrounds the terrorist attacks in Brussels and the Netherlands' role in the deportation of Ibrahim El Bakraoui, one of the suicide bombers in the attacks.

Almost all of the opposition parties demanded that Van der Steur acknowledges mistakes made at some point in the debate. GroenLinks leader Jesse Klaver went so far as to say that there is only one more thing he wants to hear from Van der Steur, and that is: "I made a mistake. Me.", according to AD's live blog on the matter. "The Minister could have done better and I want to hear it from him."

Two times Van der Steur started promising improvements, that he learned lessons and will do better, but he each time he was interrupted. On his third attempt he said: "What I'm not going to do is acknowledge that mistakes were made. Nowhere mistakes were made, but we could have taken an extra step."

Geert Wilders finds Van der Steur's response "shocking". "We ask only for self reflection, and the minister insists that nothing is going on, He lingers in technical terms: learning lessons. The relatives of the attacks in Brussels can learn no more lessons", he said. "We do not need a minister who learns from lessons, but one who acts before that. You pile blunder upon blunder."

D66 leader Alexander Pechtold wants to know exactly what lessons Van der Steur took from this whole debacle.

Van der Steur himself still thinks that he is the right man to lead the Ministry of Security and Justice in this time of "substantial" terrorist threats. He stated that he is putting "every effort" into ensuring the Netherlands' safety.

The opposition parties are not so convinced of that. SP leader Emile Roemer feels a lack of urgency from Van der Steur and the Ministry. According to him, not much has changed since the attack on Charlie Hebdo in Paris early last year. ChristenUnie leader Gert-Jan Segers agrees. "It is 5 to 12 and the exact time that the minister must radiate urgency."

The PVV already announced that they no longer have confidence in the Minister. The other parties are waiting to see how the rest of the debate goes.