The news that Agriculture Minister Piet Adema knew about the restrictions on Dutch farmers regarding the spreading of manure as early as December is causing great outrage. Minutes from European Commissioner Frans Timmermans show that Adema knew about the stricter rules well before his reassuring words in the Lower House. This news comes as a slap in the face to farmers who depend on the agricultural sector.
It is incomprehensible that Adema misinformed the Chamber and farm families and claimed that there is "no reason for great concern." This shows a lack of transparency and responsibility. It is unacceptable that farmers' interests are being squandered by politicians who follow their own agenda instead of standing up for the sector that is so crucial to our country.
The fact that Adema did not apologize until January, concealing the conversation with Timmermans, makes the matter all the more serious. There has clearly been deception and deliberate withholding of important information. This is a slap in the face to farmers, who have a right to honest and timely communication from the government.
Adema's response to the NOS, in which he claims not to recall that the subject was raised in the conversation with Timmermans, is implausible. It is highly remarkable that the subject did appear in the minutes of the European Commission. The ministry must account for these contradictions and ensure that the truth comes out.
It is not only Minister Adema who is failing in this, but also the European Union, which is drawing more and more power to itself and thereby eroding the sovereignty of the Netherlands. Wybren van Haga (BVNL) has rightly expressed his displeasure with the diktats from Brussels. It is high time the Netherlands stood up for its own farmers and fishermen, instead of letting them be demolished by unrealistic rules and restrictions.
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The agricultural sector is vital to our economy and food supply. It is unacceptable that time after time they suffer from decisions made without considering their interests. It is high time that the government takes responsibility, communicates honestly and stands up for the interests of farmers.