State Secretary Keijzer fired for publicly criticizing coronavirus access pass
State Secretary of Economic Affairs Mona Keijzer was fired on Saturday after she publicly opposed the coronavirus access pass in an interview with De Telegraaf. The CDA member criticized the wide-scale use of coronavirus access pass on the same day the new policy came into force.
“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?”, Keijzer said.
“The statements made in today’s interview with De Telegraaf are not compatible with decisions recently taken by the Council of Minister, which are of important and decisive nature,” Prime Minister Mark Rutte said in a statement.
Rutte said he made the decision to let Keijzer go after speaking to the Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate Stef Blok and three Deputy Prime Ministers, including Hugo de Jonge, Kasja Ollonggren and Carola Schouten. CDA leader Wopke Hoekstra was also involved in the decision.
“The named state secretary has been nominated for dismissal. The work will be taken over by the Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate, Stef Blok,” Rutte said.
Ik betreur dit zeer en ik bedank Mona Keijzer voor haar enorme inspanningen voor het midden- en kleinbedrijf als staatssecretaris van Economische Zaken en Klimaat. pic.twitter.com/QdwQ2TdFbc— Wopke Hoekstra (@WBHoekstra) September 25, 2021
Keijzer has resisted coronavirus measures in the past but refrained from publicly opposing a decision. It is rare for a Cabinet member to openly voice their disagreement on a policy. The Council of Ministers says that a minister must always support the final decision by the Cabinet. Under no circumstances shall a minister or state secretary act against the decision of the council.
Her comments faced backlash by a number of MPs, including D66-member Jan Paternotte, GroenLinks member Lisa Westerveld and PVV leader Geert Wilders. Some MPs demanded an emergency debate on the issue.
The Royal Dutch Hospitality Union (KHN) agreed with Keijzer's criticism of the access pass. KHN chair Robèr Willemsen said it was "unfortunate" that the CDA member was fired from her job after her statements. The mandatory QR code check is not a sore eye in the catering industry. Around 41 percent of the more than 3,400 KHN members disagreed with the entrepreneur having to carry out the access pass check.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times