A job fit for a king

MPs are worried that the heir to the throne might become tainted because of his work at the central bank, but what is he doing there in the first place? asks Robin Pascoe

MPs think crown prince Willem-Alexander should resign from his job as a member of the supervisory board at the Dutch central bank.
They fear that criticism of the bank’s handling of the bankruptcy of internet bank Icesave and its role in the development of the banking crisis will reflect badly on the future king.
Let alone all the other areas where the central bank has failed to perform to the best of its abilities – witness the takeover, break-up and nationalisation of ABN Amro for example.
But ministers don’t agree that the prince is at risk. And both they and the prince himself are keen to emphasise he has a minor role. He is only concerned in the way the bank actually functions as an institution, they say.
But current affairs magazine Elsevier quotes a central bank article which says Willem-Alexander is not only a full supervisory board member but that his contributions are ‘highly’ valued by the bank’s management and the rest of the supervisory board.
If that is the case, then he is equally guilty of the failings which the rest of the supervisory board has shown. And he should get out know while he can.
But now royal family’s press office says the role is to help prepare him for his future position as monarch. Though quite why he has needed 10 years in the job is not explained.
But why should a monarch whose role is supposed to be largely a ceremonial one, be on the board of the central bank anyway? Making sure the body charged with ensuring a healthy financial services system does its work properly is not a job for a trainee king.
Robin Pascoe is a founder of DutchNews.nl

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