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Tuesday, August 30, 2016 - 10:15
Amsterdam politicians worried about "polarization" in city council
A number of Amsterdam politicians are concerned about polarization and aggression in the city council and the council's seeming inability to reach a consensus. Alderman Eric van der Burg was the first to express his concerns to Het Parool, and numerous others now added their voices. According to VVD alderman Van der Burg, parties begrudge each other too little and that stands in the way of decision making. The final debate before the summer recess ended in a fight centered around the D66, which broke the proposed unanimity on compensating Jewish leasehold tax paid during WWII. Before that GroenLinks and the PvdA teamed up against coalition party SP when it withdrew its support for a reduction in the own contribution to healthcare. A PvdA plan to tackle solitude and loneliness in the city also could not get a majority vote, despite all parties finding it a good idea. City councilors should maybe have a beer together more often, GroenLinks faction leader Rutger Groot Wassink suggests. He shares Van der Burg's concerns ."It causes upset and we should pay more attention." He said to the newspaper. "Some venom goes with it, political contradictions can hurt. But it can be a degree or two less." PvdA councilor Marjolein Moorman was part of the previous city council and can see a striking difference between then and now, she said to the newspaper. "That should not be so. This polarization does not suit Amsterdam. The city does not benefit from council members that constantly stand in each other's way." D66 councilor Jan Paternotte agrees. "It is important that the city council is not concerned only with itself. Better manners would help."