Budget Day in NL today; Don't come to The Hague, police say
Today is Budget Day in the Netherlands, though due to the coronavirus pandemic, a much more scaled down version than usual. King Willem-Alexander will give a speech, and caretaker Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra will present next year's national budget to parliament. The police in The Hague called on Netherlands residents not to come to the city.
"There will be nothing to see," a police spokesperson said to Omroep West. "If you want to watch, you can do that best at home on the television."
Like last year, the Royal couple will not tour through the city in a carriage, but go to the King's speech by car. There will also be no 'balcony scene', with the Royals waving at the public from Noordeinde Palace. The Grote Kerk, where the King's speech will be given in the presence of parliamentarians and Senators, is screened off from view and barriers were placed in a wide circle around the building.
Parliamentarians and Senators will start arriving at the Grote Kerk around 12:45 p.m. King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima are expected at 1:20 p.m. and the King will immediately give his speech, announcing the cabinet's plans for the coming year. Finance Minister Hoekstra will officially present the budget to parliament at 3:00 p.m.
Like Budget Day itself, the 2022 national budget is somewhat more scaled down than usual. Though that has little to do with the pandemic, and a lot with the political situation in The Hague. The Rutte III cabinet has been ruling in a "caretaker" capacity since January, when it stepped down after a devastating report on the childcare allowance scandal. And there is still no sight of a new cabinet forming after the parliamentary election in March. A majority of Dutch voters event think that it is time to hold a new election.
As a caretaker cabinet, Rutte III is only allowed to keep the country running. Part of that is making and presenting a budget. But as the caretaker cabinet is not allowed to make any controversial or politically sensitive decisions, no surprise revelations are expected in the budget today.
A number of plans already leaked to the press, as is tradition in the run-up to Budget Day. 1 billion euros will be pushed into building more affordable homes, some 7 billion euros will go towards lowering CO2 emissions, a total of 860 million euros per year will go towards fighting crime, 300 million euros will be pushed into digitization, and Defense will get an extra 100 million euros.