Dutch cabinet ministers busted watching football during parliament debate

Second Chamber

The parliamentary debate on the national budget on Thursday was apparently not exciting enough to keep the attention of all those present. Ministers Ferdinand Grapperhaus of Justice and Security and Cora van Nieuwenhuizen of Infrastructure and Water Management were caught watching football while Prime Minister Mark Rutte spoke.

The General Political Viewing - the parliamentary debate on the government's budget for the coming year - is always held on the Wednesday and Thursday after Budget Day. This meant that parliamentarians and Ministers had to miss some great football matches on Thursday. In the Europa League, PSV played against Sporting Lisbon, AZ played against Partizan Belgrade, and Feyenoord faced off against Rangers FC, according to AD.

But the budget debate was not enough to keep Grapperhaus and Van Nieuwenhuizen away from the football. When the camera moved to the back of the Ministers, who were sitting in the box behind the talking Prime Minister, it found that both minsters were watching football on their tablets.

A screenshot ended up on Twitter. And while a few found it funny or understandable to seek some distraction in the hours-long debate, others called it "disrespectful", "scandalous" and "unbelievable". One Twitter user wrote: "If I did this at my job, I would be fired."