State Secretary of Economic Affairs openly opposes coronavirus access pass
State Secretary of Economic Affairs and CDA member Mona Keijzer said in an interview with De Telegraaf that she has reservations about the coronavirus access pass. She pointed to the high number of people that are vaccinated in the Netherlands, stating she finds it “inexplicable” that people must show they have been vaccinated or tested via the pass in order to gain access to a café or restaurant. Her statements came as a surprise to many both in- and outside her party.
“If you’ve ended up in a society where you have to be afraid of each other unless you can show proof, then you really have to scratch your head and ask yourself: do we want to go this way?” she questioned.
The CDA member said that most people have no or mild Covid-19 symptoms and the vaccination rate is around 85 percent. “In addition, it is a fact that full reopening of schools and universities at the end of August did not lead to a large influx of Covid-19 patients in hospitals and ICUs,” Keijzer said.
Her comments led to discussion among members of the CDA about her position in the Cabinet, NOS reported. It is highly uncommon for Cabinet members to openly go against a government policy. Political journalist Ron Fresen said to NOS it is most likely that Keijzer will resign soon since it is difficult for her to now take back her statements.
The state secretary said that the coronavirus access pass should only be used for large-scale events and nightclubs “but that you should not put it on an entire sector that has been feeling the negative effects of the coronavirus policies for one and a half years."
Both supports and opponents of the coronavirus pass demanded clarification of Keijzer’s statements.
D66 member Jan Paternoote called Keizer’s comments “very strange” on Twitter. He said it is bizarre that a member of the Cabinet would criticize the government’s decision the same day it is instated.
"How can you expect people to follow the rules when the government itself is sending conflicting messages?" GroenLinks MP Lisa Westerveld said.
PVV leader Geert Wilders requested an emergency debate on the issue. Keijzer showed that the Cabinet is divided on the implementation of the coronavirus access pass, according to Wilders.
Keijzer’s statements came as a surprise because disagreements on government policies are rarely publicly voiced by ministers. The State Secretary of Economic Affairs has always supported businesses during discussions on coronavirus policies.
Dit is heel erg raar. Je bent deel van de regering. Vandaag zet de regering - met steun TK en op advies OMT - de CoronaCheck breed in. Reden: de zorg beschermen.— Jan Paternotte (@jpaternotte) September 25, 2021
En dan zeggen: “Vind het maar niks.”
Roept heel veel vragen op. Te beantwoorden in de Kamer. https://t.co/5umFP4uDBN
Reporting by ANP and NL Times