LIKE the United Kingdom, the official opening of Parliament in the Netherlands is undertaken by the monarch and King Willem Alexander’s speech this year was upbeat but contained a serious warning.
Speaking on behalf of his Government, the king said that the Dutch economy and government finances are healthy thanks to financial buffers that have been built up over the past few years and now with the coronavirus this sensible budgeting is invaluable.
He warned however that Holland has to ready itself for the consequences of a serious economic setback, which will impact the economy and government finances in the long term and international trade is dependent upon how long the pandemic lasts.
“The economic setbacks facing our biggest European and global trading partners are in many cases even greater. For an open country like the Netherlands, with its focus on trade and exports, this is an extra complication, especially in the wake of Brexit” he said.
His government had a choice of either cutting spending or investing to keep jobs for the good of the country and it had chosen the latter course which it believes will offset the worst impact of Covid-19.
King Willem also touched on the matter of racism and the fact that the colour of a person’s skin seemed to decided what opportunities would be available to them and he made it clear that this was unacceptable in a modern society.
“The coronavirus crisis is testing us continually, in everything of value, in our health, work, family and friendships, he said. ‘Now, in particular, we are being asked to show responsibility and unity… and everyone, young and old will have to play their part in getting through this difficult period.
“Our most important source of reassurance is the economic, social and psychological resilience our country continues to show.”