Senate approves creation of super watchdog

The creation of a new super watchdog combining the competition authority, telecoms regulator Opta and the consumer affairs body Consumentenauthoriteit became a reality on Tuesday as senators voted in favour of the plan.

The three bodies will merge into a single Consumers and Market Authority (ACM) from April 1.

Senators had been concerned about the new watchdog’s independence, because civil servants are included on the payroll. ‘We will come back to that point when the bill is handled in detail,’ CDA senator Wopke Hoekstra is quoted as saying by the Financieele Dagblad.

The new body’s chairman, Chris Fonteijn, told the paper the merged group will ‘bring the best of three worlds together, increasing the effectiveness of our regulatory powers’.

The move has been prompted by cabinet plans to reduce the size of the government apparatus and will cut costs by some 10% a year, ministers said earlier.