Royal FloraHolland | Joining forces ahead of the elections
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Joining forces ahead of the elections

August 23, 2023

Stefanie Miltenburg
The Public Affairs department represents the interests of Royal FloraHolland, its members and the floriculture sector in society, the media and politics. This is an update on the lobbying aimed at the early elections to the Dutch House of Representatives on 22 November.

The government’s fall has implications for many of the issues we are working hard on as a sector, such as the energy transition, making resource use more sustainable, water management and good employment practices. Ongoing agreements on many of these issues were made with the now-outgoing government. In the coming weeks, the House of Representatives will decide which issues or files will be declared controversial. This means no policy proposals will be considered on those issues, so there may be delays or shutdowns.

As a sector, united in Greenports Netherlands, we sat together immediately after the government's fall to gauge opinions and discuss our joint commitment. Almost all the sector partners feel the need to continue current policies on the major issues and not declare parts of them controversial. One possible exception is the reduced VAT rate for ornamental plants or flowers. This tax scheme is part of a package of 116 existing exemption schemes that cost the government billions of euros annually. This is a good reason for the Ministry of Finance to examine them all critically. We are discussing our approach to this issue together with the VGB, VBW, Tuinbranche NL, CVAH and relevant officials at the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality.

The lobby's main focus now is on the upcoming elections. In doing so, it is vital to continue acting together as a horticultural cluster, as much as possible, with one voice and one strong message.

The political parties have already started writing their election manifestos and are open for input. Therefore, in late July, we drew up a joint manifesto with 13 parties from Greenports Netherlands—including Royal FloraHolland, VGB, VBW, Glastuinbouw Nederland, GroentenFruit Huis and Plantum. This has been shared with the programme committees of all the political parties currently represented in the House of Representatives. We are showing them the contribution of the horticultural sector to a green, healthy future and a clean living environment. And how our great economic value and innovative strength contribute to fulfilling the Netherlands' ambitions in the future. The lobbyists will seek to go into this in greater depth with the parties on the basis of the positions for each issue. A concrete agenda and coordination of these activities will allow us to join forces in the coming months, also in the run-up to the formation of the new government and the new coalition agreement.

European elections will also take place in June next year. There too, we are working together to highlight the unique position of greenhouse horticulture in the food supply and greening of Europe. This remains necessary to ensure that we, as the greenhouse horticulture sector, with customisation and precision in cultivation, do not get snowed under in the frenzy of the large-scale agricultural discussions.

Stefanie Miltenburg, manager Public Affairs

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