Queen: reforms for confidence, growth, security
21 September 2004 , AMSTERDAM — The ambitious reforms planned by the Dutch Cabinet for next year will be supported by the beginning of an economic recovery and will lead to "renewed confidence and perspective", Queen Beatrix said on Tuesday.
21 September 2004
AMSTERDAM — The ambitious reforms planned by the Dutch Cabinet for next year will be supported by the beginning of an economic recovery and will lead to "renewed confidence and perspective", Queen Beatrix said on Tuesday.
Speaking during her annual Speech from the Throne, or troonrede, in the Knights Hall in The Hague, the Dutch monarch said the reforms are aimed at strengthening the economy, building a safe society and a more decisive government and a good functioning democracy.
"Confidence gives a society resilience and decisiveness," she said, adding that a restoration of confidence requires input from every member of the community.
"Citizens and social organisations in the Netherlands have proven through the years that they can absorb great changes in the world and our own society," Queen Beatrix said.
Restored confidence must be based on a new cohesion and the government cannot attain that on its own. The public, social groups, unions and employers had to participate, she said.
Turning to the thorny issue of immigration, the Queen said equal respect was due to immigrants and the native Dutch, civil rights and the constitutional state. A common language (Dutch), active citizenship and shared values and norms could provide the social basis to strengthen that respect, she said.
And true to tradition, the Queen gave a summary of the Dutch government's policies for next year, asserting that the Cabinet wanted to spare society's most vulnerable groups from planned budget cuts.
Queen Beatrix also raised the controversial issue of plans to scrap the fiscally attractive VUT and pre-pension early retirement schemes in 2006, claiming that the government realised this created uncertainty for older workers.
"The proposals contain good transitional arrangements," she said.
Addressing a joint sitting of the Dutch Parliament for the 25th time since she was crowned in 1980, Queen Beatrix said the confidence of citizens will not only be improved in future by a better economy coupled with improved public safety.
She said the Netherlands is not immune to the threat posed by fanatic groups and the Cabinet has therefore opted for "radical measures", news agency ANP reported.
The Queen said the men and women serving with peacekeeping missions in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Balkans "deserve great respect and gratitude ". She said "our thoughts" go out to the soldiers killed and their families, newspaper De Volkskrant reported.
She said the Netherlands current position as the European Union Presidency demands "great responsibility to carefully prepare decisions about the further expansion of the EU ". And without naming Turkey, the Queen said the entry criteria must be applied strictly.
The EU must decide later this year if it will begin admission negotiations with the mainly Islamic nation.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news