Climate measures could trigger economic crisis, employers warn

Strict climate measures will have much greater consequences on the Dutch economy than politicians realize, according to employers' organization VNO-NCW and MKB Nederland. These measures may even trigger an economic crisis, or what they call a "self-organized recession", the organizations said to De Telegraaf.

According to Leendert-Jan Visser of MKB Nederland, the association for small- and medium-sized enterprises, the current issue around nitrogen emissions is indeed a legal issue and a discussion between the national and provincial authorities. But the result so far is only that no construction permits are issued anymore. "And that now absolutely unnecessary redundancies and bankruptcies are threatening", he said to the newspaper.

"The blows are particularly noticeable in construction, but also in transport, inland shipping, dredging companies, earth moving operators, a broad spectrum with many thousands of companies", Visser said. He fears a knock-on effect that will cause an economic crisis.

The current issue around nitrogen emissions was triggered by the Nitrogen Approach Program being declared invalid. The program allowed provinces to compensate for nitrogen emissions caused by a new project at a later date. But now that the program is invalid, any emissions caused by a new project must be compensated for immediately - there must be no extra nitrogen emissions. 

This ruling by the Council of State brought hundreds of construction projects to an immediate halt, including plans to improve the Zandvoort Circuit for the upcoming Dutch Grand Prix, while the national- and provincial governments scrambled to find areas where emissions can be reduced so that new projects can continue.

This naturally affected the construction sector - which is planning a major protest on the Malieveld in The Hague next week. But agriculture was also affected, as the government decided to cut nitrogen emissions there. Farmers have been protesting against the new nitrogen policy all month.