According to Hoekstra, several ministries are working “very hard” to improve the wording of sanctions against Russia. In comparison with other countries, Holland did not succeed in this: only part of the funds of the Russian oligarchs were frozen in Holland. The Netherlands also barely manages to confiscate real estate – such as homes and luxury yachts – from sanctioned Russians.
This infuriated the parliament, which believes the cabinet is now taking little action. Hoekstra couldn’t dispel this anger: “The Ministry of Finance is working on financial assets, the Interior is working on real estate, justice and security with notaries, infrastructure and water management for ports and yachts,” says Hoekstra. “Sometimes there are things that have to be coordinated between departments.” The Cabinet wanted to send a letter early next week, but the House considers it too late.
“for the pole”
“The absence of existence,” says Representative Peter Omtzegt. “I don’t know if the government realizes how bad it is.” According to Umtzigt, the Netherlands has already given the Russian oligarchs 36 days to transfer their assets and property from the Netherlands. “The sparrow flew away,” he says. According to PvdA leader Lillian Blumen, the Netherlands is “shamefully behind in implementing the sanctions”. “This is not the time for inter-ministerial exchanges,” Blumen says. “Shouldn’t someone just take over the responsibility?”
This call is shared by the D66 Alliance and the CDA. “I understand the inconvenience,” Christian Democrat Agnes Mulder told fellow party member Hoekstra. “I’m expecting some coordination,” says MP D66 Sjoerd Sjoerdsma. House wants to know, among other things, what the Land Registry is currently doing to map Russian real estate. Representatives also want to know if tax authorities are still hampering privacy rules when sharing information about Russians on the sanctions list.
House Speaker Vera Bergkamp has tasked Hoekstra with sharing the requested information with the House of Representatives as soon as possible. At the request of D66 member Sjoerdsma, discussion was suspended to give Hoekstra time to do his homework. “This is really embarrassing,” says GL leader Jesse Claver, who prefers to see all the ministers involved come to the House this afternoon. It won’t happen: Cabinet will send a letter about the sanctions around 8pm. Hoekstra will then return to the House of Representatives to continue the debate.
Bergkamp Hoekstra once again reassured that answering questions about sanctions takes a long time: “Many colleagues would like answers to the questions posed. In the general discussion, it is important that the questions are answered.”
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