At the request of the House of Representatives, the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe has investigated the functioning of legal protection in our country. After the start of the allowance affair, the draft report cracks down on a political and official culture in which information is withheld and MPs are hindered in their work by coalition pressure.
RTL Nieuws and Trouw have access to the draft recommendations that will be used in the Council of Europe at the end of this week.
The references in the draft report to the opposition of critical MPs are striking, as was apparent from the leaked minutes of the Council of Ministers. Complaints were made not only about opposition MPs such as Renske Leijten (SP), but also about Pieter Omtzigt (then CDA) and the then VVD MP Lodders. The report denounces that coalition coercion and the political one that perpetuated it.
Opposed by ministers
This administrative procedure must change, the report states: “It should be seen as acceptable and actually normal for coalition parties to represent parliament as an institution and that intervening in parliamentary control is not an act of disloyalty.”
Pieter Omtzigt has publicly announced that he was opposed by ministers – including from his own party – in the investigation into the allowance affair. The parliamentary inquiry committee said in the report Unprecedented Injustice that information was hidden or withheld for political reasons.
The Venice Commission is critical of the role of the House of Representatives itself in the handling of legislation, such as the introduction of the General Income Dependent Schemes Act (Awir). That harsh law – and its interpretation – contributed to the genesis of the allowance affair.
Better analyze new laws
“Hardness clauses” should be included in new legislation so that the government can comply with which they should be dealt with too harshly. To achieve this, the basic principles of good governance must be incorporated into new legislation. This refers to the requirements of ‘reasonableness and fairness’ from the General Administrative Law Act.
When introducing new laws, the government and the quality of the analysis and mapping of risks must be carried out for citizens.
The Council also advocates making decisions based on artificial intelligence, such as examining risk and developing new systems based on AI (artificial intelligence). Last year, after the allowances affair, the risk classification model of Allowances was taken off the air because it had a ‘discriminatory’ effect.
Mistakes earlier on the table
The Council of Europe presents itself on problems in the implementation of legislation, so that abuses are brought to the table earlier. Last Friday, the Dutch administrative judges were deeply moved by dust after a unique reflection on their role in the allowance affair. Such an evaluation will soon be carried out by the highest administrative court, the Council of State.
Article 120 of the Constitution must also be examined. It now states that judges are not allowed to test legislation against the Constitution. The Council says that the introduction of constitutional review is possible, but it is not a ‘quick fix’. Therefore, other possibilities for improving the legal protection of citizens through constitutional amendments should also be explored.
The report of the Venice Commission was eagerly awaited in The Hague. He previously criticized the Council of Europe where it is not taken so closely with democracy and human rights, such as Malta, Poland and Hungary.
The committee expresses confidence in the reforms announced in the Ungekend Injustice report on the allowance affair. The committee says the Netherlands when dying again to continue to support in the governance culture.