Achieving nitrogen targets by 2030 is not set in stone, says CDA leader Hoekstra
The government's goal to halve nitrogen emissions everywhere in the Netherlands by 2030 is "not sacred" for coalition party CDA. "The process needs to be restarted. And there are no dogmas; 2030 is not sacred to us," party leader Wopke Hoekstra said in an interview with the AD on Friday. Hoekstra is the current foreign affairs minister and one of the country’s deputy prime ministers.
With his comments, the CDA seems to be breaking with the agreement that has been laid down in the coalition agreement among the Christian Democrats, VVD, D66 and ChristenUnie. In the interview, Hoekstra points out the difficult process that is going on with regard to the nitrogen targets.
"We have been working for a few months now and what is the result? Impasse. I am grateful that Johan Remkes is trying to smooth things out, but that is not enough. We have to restart the process; farmers have to become ally again. One thing is not up for discussion: nature must be restored. That requires a 50 percent reduction."
However, the CDA member argues for more time to achieve this reduction, although he emphasizes that his party does not want to pass the problems on to the next generations. "But farmers must also be able to earn a fair living. Of course you can already achieve the nitrogen targets in many places before 2030, but if it takes longer elsewhere, we have to take that time. Now we are nowhere, many parties are not even sitting at the table, and without the key players you have nothing at all.”
Hoekstra tells the AD that he will not succumb to the pressure of the farmers who have been campaigning harshly against the Cabinet's nitrogen plans in recent weeks. "On the contrary. In this way we are taking a positive step forward. It is essential for us to combine two things: nature restoration and a vital countryside with a fair living for our farmers."
Reporting by ANP