Dutch Senate to investigate privatisation

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The Senate is considering launching its first parliamentary inquiry ever. The inquiry would focus on the effects of 20 years of privatisation of public services in the Netherlands. The senate has had the right to hold parliamentary inquiries since 1887, but has never used it. The initiative for the inquiry came from the Senate's oldest member, Christian Union Senator Egbert Schuurman, who has been a Senator for 27 years.     The Labour Party, the Socialist Party and Green Left and the democrat party D66 are all in favour of the plan.  Coalition partner CDA Christian Democrats has declined to comment until they have received Schuurman's official proposal. It is not known how the other coalition partner, the conservative VVD feels about the idea.      The Senate inquiry would be very different from the kind of inquiry held by the lower house of parliament, in which politicians are heard under oath and quite often heads will roll. The senator says he wants a 'calm and wise' inquiry in which employers organisations, unions and experts will be heard.     According to SP Senator Tiny Kox: "Privatisation has been the most far-reaching process of the past 20 years, and yet we have not studied it, while at the same time we know that in addition to positive effects it has also had many negative and unexpected effects."     The Dutch Senate has 75 members. It has the right to accept or reject legislative proposals, but not to amend them or to initiate legislation. Members of the Senate are elected indirectly through the States-Provincial provincial councils, which in turn are elected by the people of the Netherlands every four years.


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