State Secretary Frans Weekers is today fighting for the second time for his political life. The VVD member and his civil service have choked in the allowance fraud by Bulgarians.
FROM OUR REPORTERS ROBERT GIEBELS; RON MEERH
THE HAGUE – Publicity fumbling has led Frans Weekers to fight his stay as State Secretary of Finance today in the Lower House. The facts are known and major substantive errors have not been made, but there are many red traffic pendant lighting melbourne that the liberal minister must turn green. And he is completely alone.
Even time works to the disadvantage of the Limburger. The House of Representatives had already wanted to debate the charges fraud by Bulgarian criminals at the end of April. But the State Secretary did not complete the account of the facts on the matter in time. Instead, according to the opposition, he sent “a flut” and then the recess was there.
There is another problem with the timing. Last month, Fred Teeven, also a liberal state secretary, was allowed to stay close after the death of asylum seeker Dolmatov. The two cases have nothing to do with each other, but the Hague practice is that such issues add up. After successive riots, someone has to clear the field at some point to reset the counter.
Such an addition also plays a role in the reproaches of naivety. At the end of last year, the controversial Limburg VVD celebrity Jos van Rey appeared to have been the financier of an advertising column for Weekers’ election campaign. Weekers’ defense: I was too gullible. That worked then, but now raises the question: is Weekers in the allowance fraud the personification of a naive system?
That naivety characterizes in any case the actions of Weekers and his department in the Bulgarian fraud issue. The political antenna was broken or missing throughout the tax chain. For more than a year, the FIOD and other civil service departments failed to inform the political top of Finance about the issue. No one recognized the political explosiveness of the file. Nobody saw that such a relatively small tax fraud could work like a flywheel on the tax morale of well-intentioned Dutch people.
When Social Affairs Minister Asscher and the Dutch embassy in Sofia had long been aware and videos of Bulgarians with ING bank cards quickly gained popularity on YouTube, they failed to inform the State Secretary. Brandpunt finally did that. And then Weekers said that he should not have been aware of this one incident out of many. A colossal weakness bid, was the opinion of politics The Hague.
Weekers is now sitting between two fires: the House of Representatives and its 50,000 tax officials. The Chamber is agitated, a good part of the civil servants is furious. If Weekers says sorry to the Chamber, he implicitly blames his officials for his problems. That is going to fall badly. Before he knows it, he loses their respect and is a general without an army.