March 4. 2024. 8:45

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Dutch agrarian party leader to talk nitrogen with Timmermans


EU Climate Chief Frans Timmermans signalled his willingness to speak about the much-debated Dutch nitrogen policy with Caroline van der Plas, leader of the Dutch agrarian interest party BoerBurgerBeweging (BBB) – a party that recently made huge gains in regional elections.

The BBB made a splash last week when it garnered the most votes during the Dutch regional elections, making it favourite to become the single-largest party in the Dutch Senate. The party, which was only founded in 2019, has gained traction due to its opposition to the Dutch nitrogen policy following the nitrogen crisis, as well as its strong support for farmers and agrarian interests.

“I understand that Mrs. Van der Plas wants to come to Brussels, she is very welcome,” Timmermans told NOS. “We will then do exactly the same thing we have done before with officials, which is to explain what the European rules are,” he added.

“The Netherlands can only achieve the targets by buying out farmers and greening agriculture”, he said. “Let’s invest a lot in that. Above all, we have to give young farmers a perspective for the future,” he added.

Timmermans’ chief of cabinet, Diederik Samsom previously advised the Dutch government to forcefully buy out a number of Dutch farmers in light of the nitrogen crisis, leading to harsh criticism from the sides of BBB and the ruling VVD despite him later stating that he was merely explaining the ‘Brussels rules’ and not giving direct advice.

“I find it strange that this kind of advice is being put down here,” said Van der Plas. “[The prospect of] expropriation weighs very heavily on everyone’s mind. At the ministries they say all the time: ‘Brussels says it has to be’ and now it’s different again,” she added.

“I no longer believe anything that is being said here”, BBB’s leader also said.

(Benedikt Stöckl | EURACTIV.com)