Experts have warned the Dutch government of the epidemic, yet they have done nothing
The numbers speak for themselves, we do not ask the Netherlands for advice
The most read Dutch-language Dutch newspaper, the NL Times, writes that Liberal governments led by Mark Rutte (Liberal People's Party, Momentum's siblings) have been warned three times in recent years to prepare for a possible epidemic in the Netherlands. referring to the experience of the 2014-2015 Ebola epidemic in West Africa. Despite all this, Rutte has done nothing to prepare, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Health are now trying to shift responsibility, and Rutte is not talking about the matter, instead undermining European solidarity by sabotaging crown bonds.
According to the NL Times, in 2018 the Dutch Ministry of Public Health, Welfare and Sport asked health consultant Ger Steenbergen, a professor at the University of Groningen, to write a study on how the Hague government could respond to pandemics, more specifically what the to mitigate the effects of the Dutch phases of pandemics.
The expert’s work was based in part on the experience of the 2014-2015 Ebola epidemic in West Africa.
Ger Steenbergen completed his study back in 2018, in which he concluded that information and experience were available in the Netherlands that would allow effective action in the event of a pandemic, but these are not used by the Hague government.
Later, seeing the inaction of the governing coalition of the liberal Mark Rutte (Liberal People's Party-VVD, a sister party of the Hungarian Momentum, a member of Renew Europe) in power since 2010, Steenbergen suggested to the head of the Ministry of Health that
at least at the international level, try to work with others if they are no longer in the Netherlands.
According to him, it would also have been necessary to create a comprehensive international epidemiological strategy.
Prior to that, back in 2016, a think tank called the Local Development Cooperation and Public Policy Inspectorate produced a report that also referred to experiences during the previous Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
According to the report,
the Dutch government is so unwilling to cooperate internationally in the field of health that it is already jeopardizing cooperation within the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO).
In the same year, the Dutch Institute of International Relations in Clingendael, based in The Hague, issued a communication on the shortcomings of the government's health policy, highlighting the need for more coherent international cooperation from the Rutte cabinet, especially on epidemics.
The Clingendael Institute also exemplified the Ebola epidemic, and it is no coincidence that there are a significant number of West African migrant communities in the Netherlands, although the vast majority are not from the "Golden Coast" area the epidemic is less affected (there are more than 400 000 Moroccan migrants in the Netherlands.)
According to health experts
despite all these steps, the liberal government did nothing. That is why the current coronavirus pandemic may have hit the country so unprepared.
The author of the 2018 study, Ger Steenbergen, gave an interview to the Dutch daily Trouw a few days ago, which was also covered by the NL Times.
The frustrated expert partly explained the inactivity he experienced as a personal failure by saying
at the level of the Dutch government, to put it mildly, dialogue between the various ministries is also inadequate.
According to its statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Public Health, Welfare and Sport view the international health situation and the resulting cooperation in a completely different way.
According to the Ministry of Health, this belongs to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, based on the opinion of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but it is the competence of the Ministry of Health. Steenbergen did not ask whether one of the reasons for the lack of cooperation within the government could be that the two ministers were members of other parties, or simply that the liberal Mark Rutte had not learned to coordinate cabinet work.
According to experts,
the lack of international and intergovernmental cooperation and the ignorance of the cabinet can therefore be attributed to the severity of the epidemic in the Netherlands.
And Mark Rutte is trying to block cooperation not only in his own country and internationally, but even at the level of the European Union.
He was the one who vetoed the issuance of so-called "crown bonds" by the EU, which could have been a significant help to the southern Member States hardest hit by the pandemic.
The bond issue was mainly supported by Italy, Spain and Portugal.
This is how the "principle of European solidarity" that has been much voiced by liberals must be interpreted, because when it comes to being financially and not just at the level of press releases, liberals are vetoing everything.