A committee looking into the role of the Netherlands’ 12 provincial authorities is recommending that they take over more jobs currently done by central government.
In particular, the committee says the provinces should be given far more say in planning issues. In return ‘many billions of euros’ would head to the provincial council coffers – doubtless to create many more little local fiefdoms.
The committee was set up to look at decentralising more of central government’s work because, ominously, the government and regions could not agree among themselves about how it could be done. Not perhaps the best recipe for success but there you go.
Decentralisation is always seen as such a wonderful thing – power to the people and all that. Perhaps a questionable idea considering less than half the population bothered to vote in the last regional elections.
And if government divests itself of these powers, having already given most of its others to Europe, what is the national government for?
The committee making these suggestions has not even worked out what the effect would be on the civil servants currently doing the jobs. ‘We do not know how big, broad or deep the consquences are,’ ANP quotes the committee report as saying. Very encouraging indeed.
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