The new cabinet’s 100-day tour of the country draws to a close on Monday with some 22 ministers out and about, and ends with a mass interview on EO tv talk show Knevel en Van den Brink this evening.
The tour, aimed at finding out what people think about the government’s plans and how they should be implemented, was part of the new cabinet’s pledge to boost dialogue with ordinary voters.
Ministers hope to finalise the fleshing out of their plans by mid-June. At issue is how to divide up the €7bn which the cabinet set aside for new policy initiatives.
The string of meetings focused on the cabinet’s six policy cornerstones – an active role for the Netherlands internationally; a competitive, innovative economy; a durable society; social cohesion; security and respect; and decisive government.
In Monday’s last flurry of meetings , environment minister Jacqueline Cramer and her team discussed sustainability at Philips Nederland in Eindhoven, where they looked at new developments in lighting. She was also due to meet bargees to discuss inland shipping issues.
Finance minister Wouter Bos was in Overschie and Schiedam, while the home affairs, education and family ministers were in Den Helder where they visited a project for teenage mothers. Prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende was due to meet school pupils in Ede for a debate on Europe, while other ministers were in Groningen to discuss security issues.
Opposition MPs have described the 100-day tour as a ‘travelling circus’. In particular, Liberal (VVD) and fundementalist Christian (SGP) MPs are angry that ministers have chosen to reveal some of their ideas on a television programme rather than in parliament. Liberal leader Marc Rutte described the tour as a ‘pr stunt’.
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