the westminster news
Published by the students of Westminster School
By Grace Yuan '23
(Image Credit: Dutch Government quits Source_dw)
Mark Rutte, the Dutch prime minister, and his entire cabinet resigned after accepting the responsibility for criminal allegations by the national tax authority on fraud which brought a financial crisis to thousands of families on the basis of ethnicity. The cabinet is still to be placed to help manage the coronavirus pandemic in the country, though the prime minister went to The Hague to discuss the terms of his resignation. He argued that it was about the thousands of citizens who had been crumpled under the nation's wheels (Hooligan, 2021). Many families had been forced to repay thousands of euros which led to bankruptcies and unemployment. The tax officials had wrongly accused families over childcare subsidies, but, even worse, most of the families had been targeted based on their ethnic origin and nationality. This discrimination-based intent comes as a major moral violation in the political sphere.
What went wrong?
Parents were regarded as ‘fraudsters’ due to minor issues such as missing signatures on their papers, for instance, where they were then forced to pay tens of thousands of euros that the government gave to offset childcare costs. To those affected, it ruined families in the state, who referred to these political forces as enemies of the people. Mothers spoke tearfully on the financial and psychological crisis they had suffered after being the tax authorities' targets.
The tax officials came to admit that more than 11,000 people had been subjected to act due to their dual citizenship. This confession upheld a certainty by many cultural minorities in the Netherlands that discrimination had been institutionalized against them. The act of sacrificing their power to the admission of government failures was interpreted as a self-preservation act to avoid losing no-confidence votes.
What the wrongly accused families said.
It all began in 2012, with more than 2600 parents potentially involved. They had lost faith in the country's cabinet and called for officials to step down. Though one called on the taxing authorities to pay back 42,000 euros: Having explained that she had made a mistake, the authorities withheld a mother’s childcare allowances and benefits. She suffered arrears in energy companies, while officials refused to provide regular supply. The mother lost her job and couldn't secure another one since she was seen as a ‘fraudster.’ She broke her relationship with her child as the pressure took in. Rutte said how terrible that was, and no one in the Netherlands was to go through such.
As the COVID-19 pandemic hit, however, ministers actively worked to bring down the spread of the infection. And, ultimately, it has been decided the cabinet is to stay in the caretaker role to help reduce the pandemics spread until a parliamentary vote is held. This was not the first time the Dutch government resigned in the gesture of taking responsibility. In 2002, for instance, the ministers and the military were criticized for failing to prevent the Muslim massacre during the Bosnian war, and the cabinet stepped down thus taking responsibility.
In conclusion, the compensation plan is set to being, paying 26,000 euros to every wrongly accused parent. Many parents have argued that it is not enough to compensate for the crisis they have and continue to face. The leader of the liberal D66 party, Sigrid Kaag, showed the importance of being accountable and taking responsibility for the report and injustice that the parents had been subjected to.
Hooligan, A. (2021, January 15). “A colossal stain”: Dutch Government resigns over tax scandal. Retrieved from www.abc.net.au website: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-01-16/dutch-pm-mark-rutte-government-resign-over-tax-subsidy-scandal/13063574
PRESS, A. (2021, January 15). Dutch government resigns over child care subsidies scandal, media reports say. Retrieved March 19, 2021, from Daily Sabah website: https://www.dailysabah.com/world/europe/dutch-government-resigns-over-child-care-subsidies-scandal-media-reports-say