Plasterk waits for official reply to Dispute Regulation proposal

THE HAGUE-Minister of Internal and Kingdom Affairs Ronald Plasterk said he is still waiting for an official reply to his recent proposal for a Dispute Regulation (Geschillenregeling). He is aware of the objections, but mostly from stories in the newspaper and not straight from the governments. Plasterk said this on Thursday during a meeting with the Second Chamber Committee for Kingdom Relations.

Plasterk notified the Second Chamber of his latest proposal two weeks ago. He sticks to his initial suggestion to have the Council of State of the Kingdom (Raad van State) act as the advisory authority. Furthermore, the Kingdom Government would still be able to deviate from any advice, although a proper motivation is necessary.

The parliaments from Curaçao, Aruba and St. Maarten objected, because the proposal is not in line with an agreement made during the Inter-Parliamentary Consultation for the Kingdom (IPKO), which was held on St. Maarten last month. Members of parliament had asked for a binding advice and Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten prefered the Supreme Court to act as the advisory authority.

“I understand why they are disappointed and I am disappointed as well,’” said Roelof van Laar, member of the Second Chamber for the PvdA. “I asked the minister to stop the current negotiations and draft a new proposal which meets the framework of the IPKO-agreement.’”

André Bosman, member of the Second Chamber for the VVD said he allowed the minister some room for negotiations. “It is better to have 80 per cent of something than 100 per cent of nothing.”

Plasterk stressed that the current proposal is the best solution for the time being. He discussed possibilities for a permanent Kingdom Dispute Regulation in a Kingdom Law, but without result. The Kingdom Law is still mentioned in the current proposal but not necessary. “I launched a proposal that doesn’t immediately have to be a Kingdom Law, but at least is useful and can possibly prevent disputes, like most recently with Aruba and St. Maarten.”

Plasterk also said that the prime ministers of St. Maarten, Curaçao and Aruba would ask for a reaction from their parliaments. “But I received no official reaction. I only read about it in the newspapers,” he said. The minister promised that he would discuss the proposal individually with all three prime ministers and make adjustments, where possible. He aims to have a basic level of agreement before the summer. If this is not the case, he will start preparations for a Kingdom Law.

Plasterk also noted that the Dutch government already has made concessions. The proposed Dispute Regulation is not limited to legal disputes, but can include all other topics. Furthermore, one country can decide there is a dispute, even if the other countries represented in the Kingdom Government don’t think there is. Van Laar said he was happy that Plasterk is willing to make concessions but said the minister might consider making fewer concessions about these issues in favour of a binding ruling by the advisory authority.

The only members of parliament that were present today were Van Laar and Bosman, respectively members of coalition parties PvdA and VVD. Plasterk said it was a whole new experience to have no opposition. “But I actually need no opposition, as long as my own party is part of the coalition,” he joked.

Also present at the meeting was Director at the Cabinet of the Minister Plenipotentiary of St. Maarten Perry Geerlings.

Source: The Daily Herald Plasterk waits for official reply to Dispute Regulation proposal