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Working together for a new step in Kingdom relations

Working together for a new step in Kingdom relations

Improving the standard of living, caring for and protecting nature and the environment and working on good education and a more diverse economy. For State Secretary Alexandra Van Huffelen of Kingdom Relations, these are the main themes she will be working on in the coming years. In a letter sent today to the House of Representatives, she states that cooperation on the basis of equality is the starting point of all her efforts.

In the letter, the State Secretary outlines the opportunities and challenges for the Caribbean part of the Kingdom. From 11 to 24 February she visited all six islands. After those visits, she concludes that the islands each have their own needs and that a tailor-made approach is therefore needed.

“The islands offer a lot of opportunities if the residents get the chance to seize them,” says the State Secretary. “I see it as my task to support this. I want to work hard for this together with the administrators and inhabitants of the Caribbean part of the kingdom. Of course also with respect for the autonomous position within that same kingdom.”

State Secretary Van Huffelen is initially concerned about the poverty she has seen on the islands. “Despite the efforts of previous cabinets, I notice that the people on Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius are not yet sufficiently aware of this in their wallets.”

It has been agreed in the coalition agreement that 30 million euros will be structurally available for the Caribbean Netherlands, in addition to 35 million euros for the conservation and restoration of nature.

As far as the State Secretary is concerned, cooperation based on equality is central to the relationship with the countries of Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten. “All three countries are fully part of the Kingdom and that is the foundation from which we work together for the future.”

Challenges that the countries face include increasing poverty, a lack of implementation power and a rule of law that needs strengthening. “These are tough challenges for which we must use the power of the Kingdom. It is up to the countries to work on solutions, but they are not alone in this. This also means that we are committed to sound and ethical governance that is committed to safeguarding human rights.”

The intention is to further develop the plans from the outline letter in the coming months together with the islands and the ministries involved. The House will receive the result before the summer.