Family minister’s paper meets with cool reception
Dutch MPs express little enthusiasm on Family Minister Andre Rouvoet’s proposals on how to make Netherlands more family-friendly.4 November 2008
THE HAGUE - In his long-awaited Family Policy Paper, Youth and Family Minister André Rouvoet writes he wants to make the Netherlands more family-friendly.
Rouvoet says families are under pressure, even though strong families are of great value to society. He points to the harmful effects divorce can have on children. The minister says 30 percent of children of divorced parents are facing problems ranging from depression and anxieties to poor performance at school or even criminal behaviour.
The cabinet will offer training courses to teach parents how to deal with conflicts.
Rouvoet wants to provide couples with better information about the risks of having children at a later age. The average age at which Dutch women have their first child is currently 29, which is relatively old. The cabinet also wants to expand parental leave further.
Businesses are to offer more flexible working hours and more jobs should be created for people who only want to work during school hours.
The minister’s policy paper met with a cool reception in parliament. The conservative VVD called it patronising, while Labour said it was paternalistic.
[Radio Netherlands / Expatica]