Dutch PM Mark Rutte has finally sat down with a small group of farmers, but only the NOS, Holland’s state broadcaster, was allowed to record the encounter or ask questions.
Apparently, Mark Rutte is feeling the pressure, saying that he’ll have to meet with more farmers in the future in hopes of calming down protesters who’ve blockaded distribution centres, ports, and several border highways, as well as creating traffic jams in cities across the nation.
Speaking to the NOS (the Netherlands’ equivalent to the CBC in Canada or BBC in the UK) at a dairy farm in Leusden, Rutte said he felt he had a “good and penetrating conversation” with the farmers in attendance. [translated from Dutch]
However, he added, “I can’t remove the uncertainty with one conversation.”
For their part, the farmers were happy the PM finally spoke with them but said they didn’t feel much was accomplished during the meeting.
On social media, many criticized the PM’s decision to only allow the NOS to attend the meeting when so many questions need to be answered.
“Prime Minister Rutte is visiting farmers today to discuss the nitrogen crisis. But only selected media are invited. For example, only the NOS can film and ask questions on camera. Shocking, with so much unrest and uncertainty all over the country,” tweeted RTL Nieuws political reporter Fons Lambie.
The policy that farmers are protesting will require Dutch businesses to reduce nitrogen emissions nationwide by 50% and up to 95% in some provinces by 2030, with cows and fertilizers being significant targets of reduction.
Obviously, this isn’t tenable for most farmers, and many will be forced to sell their land. Opposing politicians and political commentators have stated this is actually the whole point of the nitrogen policy: to force farmers to sell their land to the government for pennies on the dollar.
“They want to make us more dependent on international supply chains. They want to weaken Dutch sovereignty and autonomy. And also, they want to continue mass immigration into the Netherlands,” leader of the Forum for Democracy Thierry Baudet told Roman Balmakov of Epoch Times.
“And if you’re going to bring more people into the Netherlands — into a very small and dense country — you’re going to need to take the land from the farmers and put houses there. That’s the agenda. To turn the Netherlands into a giant city.”