The Dutch cabinet’s emergency legislation which it will enact if Britain crashes out of the EU without a deal gives the cabinet uncontrollable powers, most parties in parliament say.
The legislation gives a minister the right to change or withdraw laws without parliamentary approval and without being put out to consultation to the Council of State.
‘If something has to be sorted out quickly, parliament can meet on Saturday and it can be implemented on Monday,’ CDA parliamentarian Pieter Omtzigt told current affairs show Nieuwsuur. ‘This emergency legislation has fewer guarantees than a calling for a state of emergency.’
The cabinet has to change the proposed legislation, said D66 MP Kees Verhoeven. ‘Brexit might be a unique situation but that does not mean you can bypass parliament. Haste and panic are the wrong reflexes.’
And GroenLinks leader Jesse Klaver has said the legislation ‘is more appropriate to a dictatorship than a democracy’.
However, VVD parliamentary party leader Klaas Dijkhoff said the concern is premature. ‘This emergency law cannot come into effect without parliament,’ he said.
‘We need to strike a balance between proper preparation and being able to act in a targeted way. But we cannot predict everything, and sometimes parliament will have to lower its voice, if the situation demands it.’
Foreign affairs minister Stef Blok sent the emergency powers legislation to parliament last month as part of the preparations for a no-deal Brexit, which pundits say is becoming increasingly likely.
He said at the time that the aim is to make sure that people can still travel to the UK without too many problems, and to deal with practical matters, such as the legality of a British driving licence in the Netherlands.
‘The law gives the government the option to take emergency measures,’ Blok said. ‘Brexit is a completely new situation and a no deal Brexit may have far reaching consequences.’
He will discuss the draft legislation with MPs in January.
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