Parliament leader worried by mountain of waiting debates

Tweede Kamer
The Chairman's seat at the Tweede Kamerphoto: JanKranendonk / DepositPhotos

The Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, currently has nearly 200 debates that still have to be held. New debates are added to the list almost daily. "I am a bit worried about that", Kamer president Khadija Arib said to RTL Nieuws.

Parliamentarians can request debates on topics that are in the news. "It is also an interaction between MPs and the media", Arib said. "If you request a debate, you as parliamentarian indicate that you think it is very important. A lot of debates are, of course, justified."

On Friday the debate counter stood at 96 regular debates that still have to be held, and 90 so-called thirty-member debates - debates requested by a minority in the Tweede Kamer. "There are even debates that were requested one and a half or two years ago", Arib said. 

The Tweede Kamer president thinks that MPs should show a bit more restraint when requesting debates. "It is important that you use your instruments with care", she said, otherwise they may lose their value. The same applies to asking parliamentary questions or submitting motions, she said to RTL. 

A committee led by SGP leader Kees van der Staaij is currently looking into the working methods of the Tweede Kamer and whether anything should change. The results are expected around the summer.