Classic welfare society no longer relevant in nowaday Holland: King

Source:Xinhua Published: 2013-9-17 21:44:20

On behalf of the Dutch government, King Willem-Alexander said the Dutch society has to change from a classic welfare state to a participatory society during his maiden Speech from the Throne on Tuesday.

On the traditional opening day of the parliamentary year, Prince's Day, the Dutch government presented its plans, for the first time read by new King Willem-Alexander. The latter became King of the Netherlands on April 30 this year, after his mother Beatrix abdicated.

Following the procession in the Golden Coach from Noordeinde Palace to the house of parliament with his wife Queen Maxima, the King read aloud the Speech from the Throne, written jointly by the Ministers and Secretaries of State. In this speech the cabinet outlined its plans for the forthcoming year in front of the members of the two houses of the parliament, the States-General.

Willem-Alexander began his speech with a personal note. He stated to be grateful for the "heartwarming" start of his term, he called his mother Beatrix an inspiration and thanked for the support after the death of his brother Prince Friso on August 12 this year.

His tone was predominantly gloomy. "For five years we are in an economic crisis," the King said. "Unemployment is rising, the number of bankruptcies is rising, the prices of houses are dropping, pensions are under pressure and purchasing power remains low."

"There are tentative signs that the end of the global economic crisis is in sight," he continued. "A perspective on recovery arises for our country. That does not mean that the Dutch economy does not suffer from a number of specific structural problems, including the debt of the government and households and the financial position of banks."

Due to developments like aging and internationalization, the Dutch labor, care and social security facilities do no longer fully meet the requirements of this time, according to the speech of the King. He stated that the classic welfare state from the second part of the 20th century does not fit anymore in the current state of the society.

"The classic welfare state has become untenable," said the King. "In addition, that is no longer in line with the expectations of the people. People want to make their own choices. We ask everyone to take responsibility. We will change from a welfare state to a participatory society."

To reach this change, the government proposed changes and decentralization on welfare, health care and social security systems and in addition reforms in unemployment legislation, dismissal rights and the housing market. He emphasized the importance of a limited budget deficit and announced, as was already known, additional cuts of 6 billion euros (8 billion USdollars).

"The changes are complex and radical, but necessary," the King concluded.

After the speech, the King and Queen Maxima boarded the Golden Coach and returned to the palace for a balcony scene. Later on Tuesday, Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem will present the budget plan to the parliament.

Posted in: Europe

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