Rutte will attend Zelenskyy address in parliament after all
Members of the Dutch Cabinet, including Prime Minister Mark Rutte, will be allowed to attend the Tweede Kamer session when Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addresses members of parliament by video. The decision was announced by Vera Bergkamp, the chair of the Tweede Kamer, on Twitter on Tuesday morning.
A day earlier, Rutte said on Instagram that he wanted to attend the speech, but that the parliamentarians did not want him there. “The Kamer said: we really want to do this as the Kamer," Rutte stated during a question and answer session. "So I'm not going to be there." His plans changed after Bergkamp reached out to him.
“The president of Ukraine, Mr. Zelenskyy, will address the Tweede Kamer on Thursday,” Bergkamp wrote. She said she invited Rutte, Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren, and Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra to attend the speech in the Voorzittersloge, a private box at the main debate chamber of the Tweede Kamer which may be used by the chair’s guests and aides.
“This way, they will be able to follow the speech directly. They are taking advantage of this invitation,” Bergkamp said.
The Ukrainian ambassador to the Netherlands first proposed the idea of Zelenskyy addressing Dutch members of parliament. The Netherlands has opposed allowing Ukraine to rapidly become a member of the European Union, but the country also supplied weaponry and equipment to help Ukraine fend off the Russian invasion that intensified there last month.
Members of parliament will hold a debate immediately after Zelenskyy’s speech. As the foreign affairs minister, Hoekstra was already slated to attend the debate.