Green lobby groups such as Milieudefensie could lose their government subsidies if they present information which is too one-sided or campaign using undemocratic methods, environment minister Jacqueline Cramer warned on Saturday.
Her comments follow growing criticism from employers groups about the way environmental campaigning groups operate. Bernard Wientjes, chairman of the VNO-NCW employers organisation, described Milieudefensie as a ‘dogmatic, undemocratic action group’ in Saturday’s Telegraaf and called on the government to stop supporting it.
Cramer said in a statement that the government had to be ‘very critical’ of groups which were one-sided or undemocratic or published wrong information. ‘And eventually, if this… continues… it could lead to the subsidies being stopped,’ Cramer said.
Christian Democrat MPs earlier called on Cramer to stop subsidising Milieudefensie after it published a report on the use of illegal timber in the Netherlands which contained a number of mistakes.
Cramer, who according to the AD used to work for Milieudefensie, pointed out that green lobby groups have an important role to play as an intermediary between the government and environment-aware consumers.
In addition, most of their money comes from members and donations. The government only subsidies groups to carry out specific projects, she said. Some 20% of their funding comes from the ministry.
Greenpeace has made it a point of principle not to apply for any Dutch government cash, the AD reports.
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