Islands The islands believe that they should surrender too much autonomy for corona support. A pain point is the establishment of a Dutch institute that monitors the finances on the islands.
Curaçao, Sint Maarten and Aruba have not yet been able to reach an agreement with the Netherlands on the conditions for corona support. Prime Minister Eugene Rhuggenaath of Curaçao announced this on Friday after discussions with the Netherlands in the Kingdom Council of Ministers. Earlier this week , Curaçao already indicated that it would not agree with the Dutch requirements for the emergency package at the Rijksministerraad. The talks on Friday, which discussed a new emergency package consisting of a loan of 190 million euros, did not yet lead to a breakthrough. The countries cannot yet agree.
State Secretary Raymond Knops (Kingdom Relations, CDA) said after the Kingdom Council of Ministers that the offer made by the Netherlands is “in any case reasonable”. Knops says that the aid package that the Netherlands has offered can ultimately amount to 1 billion euros. “It concerns very large amounts, so it makes sense that you also set conditions. And they are very reasonable and are about good spending and the control thereof by an entity. ”
Curaçao wants to talk further in the coming weeks about the conditions that the Netherlands wants to set. Prime Minister Rhuggenaath called that Friday “a victory for the Kingdom.” He says he is willing to implement the reforms that the Netherlands demands to be accelerated, but also hopes that the Netherlands will recognize that the countries need time for this. Curaçao hopes to close a deal on aid money within a few weeks. Curaçao agrees with the Netherlands on the ‘largest parts’ of the package, says the prime minister.
Rhuggenaath says that Curaçao is prepared to reduce the salaries of government employees, but that it should also discuss this with the unions on the island. The Netherlands requires salaries to drop by 12.5 percent. Rhuggenaath feels that this is in great demand in this crisis. “There is a lot of pressure on the community, there is already a lot of poverty.”
Countries see an infringement of autonomy
In exchange for corona support, Curaçao, Aruba and Sint Maarten believe that they should surrender too much autonomy. One of the biggest problems is the establishment of a Dutch institute that monitors the finances on the islands. Curaçao is willing to talk about an entity that will be involved in spending the aid money, Rhuggenaath says on Friday. But the current form that the Netherlands wants is not acceptable, he says. “This entity is without participation of the countries themselves and is led by people appointed by the Netherlands. That is not in the spirit of cooperation within the Kingdom. ”
Curaçao is willing to talk about an entity that is involved in spending the aid money. But the current form that the Netherlands wants is not acceptable, says Rhuggenaath. “This entity is without participation of the countries themselves and is led by people appointed by the Netherlands. That is not in the spirit of cooperation within the Kingdom. ”
The Prime Minister of Sint Maarten, Silveria Jacobs, also believes that the entity affects the autonomy of the countries. “There is too little understanding in the Netherlands how this feels for us,” she said after the Kingdom Council of Ministers. Jacobs says he is prepared for reforms such as raising the retirement age, but wants a reasonable period for that. “The Netherlands itself took ten years to do that.”
The islands have been hard hit by the corona virus. The government of Curaçao closed its borders in early March, which was a major blow to the tourism sector, which is important to the island. Tens of thousands of Curaçaoans were left without a job. Since July 1, travelers from the Netherlands and a number of other countries are welcome on Curaçao again.