Balkenende: Máxima is misquoted

11th October 2007, Comments 0 comments

11 October 2007, THE HAGUE – The comments made by Princess Máxima at the presentation of the report published by the Scientific Council for Government Policy (WRR) on integration have been quoted incompletely and taken out of context. Princess Máxima never said that "the Dutch identity does not exist". With far more nuance she has pointed out that the Dutch identity is not a static concept.

11 October 2007

THE HAGUE – The comments made by Princess Máxima at the presentation of the report published by the Scientific Council for Government Policy (WRR) on integration have been quoted incompletely and taken out of context. Princess Máxima never said that "the Dutch identity does not exist". With far more nuance she has pointed out that the Dutch identity is not a static concept.

Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende said this in parliament on Wednesday. Balkenende said he regretted the upheaval following Princess Máxima’s speech. He said that the faction leader for the Freedom Party (PVV) Geert Wilders was much to blame for this. Wilders had dismissed Princess Máxima’s words as "politically correct claptrap". By saying this Wilders did not do justice to the princess’s comments, the prime minister felt.

Balkenende refuted the criticism expressed by parliament that the government should not have exposed Princess Máxima to the commotion that arose after her speech. "Members of the Royal Family may not become the subject of the public debate." MP Willibrord van Beek argued. Hero Brinkman (PVV) feels that the prime minister had failed "to stand up for" Princess Máxima.

The prime minister however pointed out that he and two other ministers had read Princess Máxima’s speech in advance. The speech did not contain qualifications that were not in line with the government viewpoints. Balkenende said he agreed with MP Wim Camp (CDA), who feels that comments made by the Royal Family should be dealt with in a more relaxed way.

The prime minister also soothed the anxiety about the rising government expenditure on the Royal Family. The cost had risen from EUR 83 million in 2005 to EUR 118 million last year. Balkenende said that the rising costs were mainly of a temporary nature, such as the renovation of the Dam Palace and the growing costs of security.

Balkenende did promise to provide more clarity regarding the expenditure on the Royal Family. The costs are at present charged to the budgets of different ministries. A majority in parliament indicated that it could not properly judge the expenses.


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