On Thursday, the cabinet had a lot to explain to the House about the recently released minutes of the Ministers Council, which discussed critical MPs and the failure to share information.

Opposition members demanded explanations, reflection and answers, but the responsible outgoing ministers and outgoing Prime Minister Mark Rutte did not run into problems.

Rutte acknowledged that he was "not proud" of some of the statements he read of himself in the minutes.

For example, he echoed the remark of Minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen (Infrastructure) that "it is by no means acceptable that coalition groups take a sharper position than opposition groups".

Not only Rutte, but also more ministers discussed the position of MPs from coalition factions in particular.

For example, Wouter Koolmees (D66) classified them as "activist spokespersons" and Wopke Hoekstra (CDA) said that he and CDA colleague Hugo de Jonge "put a lot of time and energy into raising awareness" of CDA MP Pieter Omtzigt, who has been involved in the Supplement affair for years.

"I wanted to make him sensitive to what the cabinet could and could not do", Hoekstra defended himself in the House.

According to the CDA leader, his comment was about awareness of implementation problems at the tax authorities.

"Secretary of State Menno Snel was really aware that something was fundamentally wrong, but he had his hands in his hair."

Another point that was central during the debate was the inadequate information provision to the House.

It can be concluded from the minutes that the cabinet unanimously decided in November 2019 not to send a statement of facts about the Supplement affair requested by the House.

According to the opposition members, the cabinet had political reasons for this, as the parliamentary interrogation committee Childcare Allowance (POK) concluded at the end of 2020 in their harsh report

Ongekend Injustice,

after which the cabinet decided to resign.

Rutte, on the other hand, stated that this was not the case.

According to him, the statement of facts was not sent to the House because this was not the usual procedure at the time and because the personal policy views of individual civil servants had to be protected.

Deputy cabinet members

  • Outgoing Minister of the Interior Kajsa Ollongren (D66)

  • Outgoing Minister of Finance and CDA leader Wopke Hoekstra

  • Outgoing Minister of Social Affairs and Employment Wouter Koolmees (D66)

  • Outgoing State Secretary for Finance Alexandra van Huffelen (D66)

  • D66 leader Sigrid Kaag, outgoing Minister of Foreign Trade

  • Outgoing Prime Minister and VVD leader Mark Rutte

Opposition was critical, but also wanted to look ahead

The opposition members criticized the cabinet in more than thirteen hours of debate.

"The minutes show a picture of a bunch of powerhouses," THINK leader Farid Azarkan began fiercely.

"A political mafia gang" PVV leader Geert Wilders called the outgoing cabinet.

SP leader Lilian Marijnissen attacked the cabinet on the fact that in the councils of ministers it was mainly about the perception and not about the problems of the affected parents.

Also according to Esther Ouwehand of PvdD, the ministers acted "to save their own political hide".

She wondered whether the cabinet had resigned from the stage after the POK's report last January.

Lilianne Ploumen (PvdA) and Jesse Klaver (GL) also joined Marijnissen and Ouwehand and criticized the cabinet, but did not support Azarkan's motion in which he renounced confidence in the entire cabinet.

There was also no majority in the House for that.

During the debate it seemed that they also wanted to look ahead.

They therefore jointly submitted a motion on a new administrative culture that was adopted.

Coalition parties VVD, D66, CDA and CU were more lenient than the opposition parties.

Rob Jetten (D66) emphasized that what is stated in the minutes is not new, because the POK had already concluded this.

Sophie Hermans (VVD) said on behalf of the VVD faction that she is of the opinion that the motivations of the cabinet for withholding the account of the facts were not politically motivated.

Although it was expected in advance that the cabinet might await a fierce debate in which mutual confidence - which emerged in the Omtzigt debate at the beginning of April - would be discussed, a majority of the House was for now satisfied with the accountability. .