Cabinet must get broad support for long-term Covid policy: parliament
The lower house of the Dutch parliament urged the Cabinet to hold discussions with stakeholders from across society when creating the long-term approach to the coronavirus. Everyone plays a role in the fight against the virus, so there must be broad support, according to a motion filed by ChristenUnie MP Mirjam Biker. All parties in parliament signed it, except for Forum voor Democratie.
"It is essential that we work on social support, especially when thinking about the long-term approach," said Bikker. She referred to a letter that the association of Dutch municipalities VNG sent earlier this week calling for a conversation about the "despondency" in society about the coronavirus. "The municipalities gave a clear signal, and I am pleased that parliament is tackling it broadly."
Political The Hague has long been pushing for a long-term plan against the coronavirus. The Cabinet is working on it, Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Health Minister Ernst Kuipers emphasized during the coronavirus debate. When drawing up these plans, parliament wants the Cabinet to discuss with the municipalities, employers, employees, and civil society. The latter category includes all kinds of groups and organizations that play a role in society. Education and healthcare were explicitly mentioned.
The Cabinet promised to look at the longer-term in three ways when it comes to combating the coronavirus. The first is a plan for the rest of the winter. That will be ready at the start of February, Rutte said. The Cabinet will then examine how the coronavirus should be combated in the subsequent period. The Cabinet expects to discuss this with parliament later that month. It is also looking at "pandemic preparedness," i.e., how well the Netherlands can be better prepared for new pandemics in the future, including those other than the coronavirus.
A majority in parliament also insisted that the coronavirus policy "remains focused on society as a whole." The approach now focuses on care, the vulnerable, and keeping an eye on fighting the virus itself, but too little on the "side effects of the coronavirus policy" for entrepreneurs and young people, for example, said a motion by VVD MP Judith Tielen. The motion received majority support.
Parliament also supported a motion calling for specific attention for informal carers.
Reporting by ANP