Dutch King calls financial struggles "painful", lack of political trust "worrying"
King Willem-Alexander called it “painful” that Netherlands residents are struggling to pay their bills and “worrying that people are losing confidence in the problem-solving capacity of politics” in his annual speech on Prinsjesdag. “Everything is aimed at compensation as quickly as possible and recovery as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, that takes time,” the Dutch King said in the Koninklijke Schouwburg in The Hague.
“We are living in a time of contradictions and uncertainty,” the King said. “The uncertainty about tomorrow is growing. About purchasing power. About the war in Ukraine. But also about major changes that are coming our way. All these topics determine the way in which we live, work, do business, and live together.”
The war in Ukraine has made gas, electricity, and food considerably more expensive. The King said. “The consequences for people are serious. It is painful that more and more people are struggling to pay their bills.” The Cabinet is pushing 18 billion euros into softening these blows with measures like a price ceiling for gas and increasing the minimum wage, housing benefit, and child-related budget. “But even with that, not everything can be compensated.”
Russia’s war in Ukraine is jeopardizing the foundation of prosperity and freedom. “The international legal order is under attack. We say on May 4 and 5 that freedom and democracy cannot be taken for granted. Now we are faced with the question of what we are willing to pay for this.” The government is increasing and accelerating its support for Defense and will continue to work with international partners to erect “a barrier against the erosion of democracy.”
“The Cabinet is always looking for the right financial balance.” Purchasing power improvement is necessary now, but future problems can’t be ignored. “The Cabinet is doing everything it can to gain broad support for solutions to the nitrogen problem. The goal is a good future for all of us. That is why halving emissions is inevitable. At the same time, farmers have understandable concerns,” the King said. The Cabinet continues to look for joint solutions with all parties involved, he said.
The Netherlands is switching to sustainable energy with other European countries and aims to be independent of Russian gas by the end of this year, the King said. The increasingly extreme weather patterns show the urgency of this transition.
“Everyone has a right to a home of their own in a safe, accessible neighborhood. This is a core task of the government. The Cabinet is regaining control over this,” the King said. “The practice is unruly, but the urgency is high.” The Cabinet is accelerating housing construction.
Ensuring security is another core task of the government. “Tackling organized crime is a top priority,” said Willem-Alexander. “All residents of the Netherlands must be able to obtain justice. Also, the victims of the earthquakes in Groningen and the benefits scandal.” The government is therefore focused on compensation and recovery as quickly as possible.
The government is also working on the crisis in asylum shelter, resulting in hundreds of asylum seekers having to sleep outside over the summer. “The Cabinet is taking this into account and is working on solutions,” the King said. “In our country, there is always a place for people fleeing war and violence.”
The King also said that the Cabinet is investing in the cultural sector, which was hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. And that there is no room for racism in the Netherlands’ society. “We must look at the less beautiful pages of our history and what they mean for our society.”
“Together, we will work for the good of the Netherlands,” the King said. “With that idea in mind, the government, together with you and all the positive forces in our country, will continue working to find solutions to today’s challenges, and to ensure a bright future for everyone in our Kingdom.”