Law to help reduce democratic deficit in Parliament early June

THE HAGUE–The law proposal to adapt the Kingdom Charter to eliminate the possibility for the Kingdom Government to issue an independent General Measure of the Kingdom Government AMvRB without a solid, legal ground will be handled in the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament early June this year. Under the new law, AMvRBs should be based on a Kingdom Law or the Charter.

The Second Chamber’s Permanent Committee for Kingdom Relations, on Thursday, approved the further handling of the Kingdom law proposal of Member of Parliament (MP) Roelof van Laar of the Labour Party PvdA. The law proposal seeks to change two articles of the Charter, article 14 and 38, which regulate the guarantee and intervention function of the Kingdom Government.

The law proposal will be put on the agenda for plenary handling in the week of June 6, the week after the bi-annual Inter-Parliamentary Consultation for the Kingdom IPKO is held in The Hague. The presence of the Parliaments of Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten enables representatives of these Parliaments to take part in the debate.

On the request of Member of the Second Chamber André Bosman of the liberal democratic VVD party, there will an additional possibility to submit questions and remarks regarding the law proposal by May 11. Bosman said on Thursday that he had a “number of clarifying questions.” The answers will be provided by Van Laar by May 18, after which the law proposal will submitted for plenary handling in the week after the IPKO.  

The original law proposal dates back to December 28, 2000, at which time it was proposed by then MP Gert-Jan van Oven (PvdA); however, that law proposal ended up in a drawer. Five years after the completion of the constitutional reform process to dismantle the Netherlands Antilles and to establish the new countries Curaçao and St. Maarten, the law proposal was resubmitted by Van Laar.

The Second Chamber’s Permanent Committee for Antillean and Aruban Affairs and the Parliament of the Netherlands Antilles and of Aruba submitted their response to the law proposal late 2001 and early 2002.

The delegations of the Parliamentary Contact Plan, the precursor of the IPKO, already stated in 2000 that in their opinion General Measures of the Kingdom Government should be based on Kingdom Laws. The Contact Plan asked the Kingdom Council of Ministers at that time to initiate a change to the Charter to reduce the democratic deficit where it relates AMvRBs.

Van Laar admitted in his report, in response to the contributions of the different Parliaments that it had taken a long time for the law proposal. “The reason was not only that the original initiative taker has left the Second Chamber, but also that afterwards priority was given to the work load associated with the process of constitutional restructuring within the Kingdom, and the implementation thereof.”

In the meantime, the Brooks Committee, on the request of the IPKO, issued a report “Choosing for the Kingdom” in November 2009, in which the Kingdom Government was recommended to ensure that for the issuing of independent AMvRBs it would use the same benchmarks as the Dutch Government did for independent AMvRBs.

Point of departure of the current, updated law proposal of Van Laar is that AMvRBs must have a foundation in a Kingdom Law or the Charter itself. The law proposal includes an exemption to this main rule: in extraordinary cases of urgent nature rules can be set in an independent AMvRB that is not based on a Kingdom Law or the Charter.

The maximum term of such an AMvRB is two years, which should provide the Parliaments sufficient time to draft and approve a Kingdom Law to regulate a particular issue. If the law is approved, it would become clear that from then on that the same stringent requirements would be in place in the Kingdom legislation where it is regarding the issuing of an independent AMvRB as is already the case in the Dutch law.

After the new Kingdom Law has gone into effect, the eventual issuing of an independent AMvRB can only be based on exceptional cases of pressing nature. It is assumed that such an AMvRB will only involve incidental measures and that it will not concern a large regulation system in a particular area.

In his report, Van Laar stated that the Kingdom Law in question will not entirely eliminate the democratic deficit within the Kingdom. “It aims to make merely a small, but not unimportant contribution,” he stated.

Source: Daily Herald
Law to help reduce democratic deficit in Parliament early June