No decision on 2G access policy; Debate continues next week
After hours of debating in the Tweede Kamer on Tuesday, the parliamentarians made no clear decision on whether or not to implement the 2G coronavirus access system. While no parties jumped to support the measure, there is also no majority that will block it completely, NOS reports.
The 2G system only allows access to specific events and facilities to people vaccinated against Covid-19 or recently recovered from a coronavirus infection. A negative test is not sufficient, as it is in the current 3G system. Health Minister Hugo de Jonge promised that the measure would be used as sparingly as possible, for example, only in the catering industry and events. He promised that it would never be used for work, and there will be exceptions for people who cannot get vaccinated for medical reasons. They'll be able to get a QR code for their access pass.
Only coalition parties VVD and D66 said they fully support 2G, but both parties added that they're not eager for the measure. VVD MP Aukje de Vries called it choosing between two evils, as the alternative is harsher lockdown measures that wouldn't be fair to vaccinated people.
The SP, GroenLinks, FvD, PvdD, PVV, JA21, BBB, Denk, Van Haga, SGP, and BIJ1 will not support 2G. This means that the Cabinet will have to focus its hopes on the CDA, PvdA, ChristenUnie, and Volt for a majority. These parties also have significant objections to 2G but did not rule it out completely.
The CDA is "struggling" with the measure, MP Joba van den Berg said. To make a proper assessment, she'd like to hear alternatives from De Jonge. The CDA parliamentarian worries that 2G will bring polarization in society. "And polarization will not get us out of this crisis."
The ChristenUnie proposed a "1G" policy, in which everyone has to get tested for an access pass, whether they are vaccinated or not. MP Mijram Bikker said she realizes that this will demand a lot from the testing capacity. "But it has to be doable." When asked whether ChristenUnie will vote against 2G, Bikker said: "It's not for nothing that we are making this proposal, but in the current situation, I find it difficult to say about a measure: this will never ever happen."
PvdA parliamentarian Attje Kuiken said her party will look at 2G "with an open mind."
The Outbreak Management Team will advise on 3G, 2G, and 1G policies on Friday. The Cabinet will present a bill by Monday, and then parliament will vote on it. If the Tweede Kamer gives the green light, it also has to pass through the Eerste Kamer, the Dutch Senate, before implementation.