King denounces gov’t scandals in budget speech; Promotes climate measures, healthcare recovery
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The cabinet did not shy away from its mistakes in the Budget Day speech from the throne, delivered by King Willem-Alexander. The settlement of the earthquake damage in Groningen "has been too slow and laborious for too long". And victims in the childcare allowance scandal were wronged, the King said.
The coming period, the focus will be on the recovery of people who worked in care during the coronavirus crisis, both in hospitals and in nursing care, the King emphasized. He also thanked all the people who made a major contribution during the coronavirus crisis, such as the police, enforcement officers and soldiers who jumped in to help.
"Behind us lies a period that was largely dominated by corona. Next year there will be room to look ahead and look back. After this period, many mourn the loss of a loved one, others struggle with the physical and mental consequences of corona. And others, old and young, face loneliness and depression," said the King.
He praised the many initiatives in the country to help and get people out of isolation. It is also important that this continues to exist in the coming phase, according to the monarch. "It is positive how many people continue to work, often in difficult circumstances. The Netherlands is grateful to you."
This past summer's severe floods underline the danger of climate change, King Willem-Alexander said in the Budget Day speech. All measures already planned to combat climate change must be re-examined and accelerated where necessary, the monarch said.
Willem-Alexander called the flood that hit Limburg this year "a hard warning".
The King also addressed the murder of crime writer Peter R. de Vries, calling it a new low in the fight against organized crime in the Netherlands. People who are committed to the rule of law must be protected, according to the King.
Netherlands residents are concerned about "the country and the world around them", also because "the social debate is increasingly conducted in a polarizing zone", the King said. The government, which wrote the speech, with this noted that "the Netherlands is and remains a good country to live in", and also has a solid economy.
According to the government, there are many uncertainties, including the coronavirus debate, the situation in Afghanistan, climate change, and "shifting power relations on the world stage". It is important to approach upcoming changes "with an open mind", said the King. "If we continue to face the future together, we can handle a lot."
Reporting by ANP.