photo: Pixabay

The Hague – How much money does a person on Bonaire, Saba, and Statia need to survive? The opposition parties SP, and Groenlinks want to force the Government of the Netherlands to determine the social minimum.

The Government of the Netherlands refuses to say what the amount is while both the Senate, and Parliament have given them a directive to do so. Despite all of the reports, State Secretary for Social Affairs and Employment Tamara van Ark says that she cannot determine the social minimum because the standards of living differ too much between the islands.

Opposition parties SP, Groenlinks, and PvdA are not happy. “We are able to determine it for every single municipality in the European part of the Netherlands. So why is it not possible to do that for Bonaire, Saba, and Statia?”, says Van Raak (SP).

A Parliamentary debate about determining the social minimum has been requested by Van Raak (SP), and will take place on Wednesday. Together with Groenlinks, Van Raak wants to enter nearly the exact same motion into Parliament as was passed through two years ago.

Will the motion receive the needed support?
Van Raak’s objective is to let the Government of the Netherlands know that Parliament expects the amount of the social minimum to be known as soon as possible. It remains to be seen if the parties which supported the motion last time, and who are now member of the coalition will do so again.

Back in October of 2016, all parties supported the motion to determine the social minimum except for the VVD, and the PVV. “I would find it very odd if the CDA, D66, and ChristenUnie, who signed on two years ago, would refuse to do so now”, says Van Raak. “Because the plans that are on the table now are vague, and the social minimum has not been established.”

The coalition party ChristenUnie holds the key to the vote on Wednesday. This is because both the D66, and the CDA have already put out statements stating that they will not be supporting the motion. They understand the explanation given by State Secretary Van Ark to Parliament. She wants to use the next two years to lower the costs of living.

‘Program needed like the ones used in the Netherlands for disadvantaged neighborhoods’
The CDA wants to give the government more time to amongst other things, arrange social housing, and lower the costs of living in the special municipalities.

Joba van den Berg (CDA) plans to enter his own motion on Wednesday. If it were up to the CDA the Government of the Netherlands would make individual plans for each island so that they can be self-sustaining, and cheaper in the future.

Van den Berg is thinking about solutions such as promoting agriculture, improving public transportation, and the education of civil servants. “We think that a program such as the one we have in the Netherlands for disadvantaged neighborhoods with a five-, to ten-year plan should be set up.”

The Parliamentary debate will take place on Wednesday at 14:25 (Central European Summer Time), and will last approximately 15 minutes. You can follow the debate live by using this link.