Instituting an independent Kingdom mechanism to check the compliance with minimum standards and other agreements in the Kingdom, a Kingdom mediator that also could solve disputes between the countries, is one of the suggestions in a recent discussion paper of the Kingdom Relations Committee chaired by Professor Pieter van Vollenhoven, titled “One Kingdom with rules of play. This writes The daily herald. ”The Committee wants to contribute to provide clarity on the relations within the Kingdom in an attempt to prevent a situation in which many might see the Kingdom only as a burden without feeling the added value.
According to the Committee, the expectations have been differing too much due to a lack of clarity on the relations between the four countries that make up the Kingdom: Aruba, Curaçao, St. Maarten and the Netherlands. “That creates situations in which the Caribbean countries accuse the Netherlands of meddling too much in their internal affairs, while the Netherlands is of the opinion that the other counties do not have their affairs in order or that they are too costly,” Van Vollenhoven stated in the discussion paper.
According to the committee, cooperation requires a shared vision on joint objectives, strict mutual agreements, rules of play and a clear joint supervision. The latter could be facilitated through a Kingdom Mediator and/or a dispute solving mechanism, possibly with an added Kingdom Secretariat that could identify the cooperation mechanisms. An independent mechanism that supervises the execution of and compliance with agreements and the minimum standards is currently lacking in the Kingdom. This Kingdom mechanism would have to be established with the participation of all four countries.
In the Committee’s opinion, it is high time to give explicit content to the values and rules of play in the Kingdom. Creating clarity on what the countries want and expect from each other is important if the countries decide to stay in the Kingdom.
The Kingdom currently does not have a vision or a joint agenda. The Kingdom does have a Kingdom Council of Ministers, but it has no governing programme or a joint budget to execute a vision.
The Committee described three options for the future in its paper, taking into account that the current relations have become unten-able. Option one is to maintain the Kingdom Charter as a vestibule for total independence in the future. Option two is to turn the Kingdom into a commonwealth of independent countries. Option three is to turn the Kingdom into a structural commitment.
If the countries pick option three, it means a renewed foundation for further cooperation. “That implies a Kingdom based on joint norms and values with which compliance can be enforced with effective means. That means more Kingdom instead of less Kingdom. It means a more joint Kingdom,” it was stated in the paper.
The Committee suggested establishing a Kingdom Secretariat and/or an independent body to solve disputes, a Kingdom mediator. “The choice of the Committee is clearly to have one Kingdom with rules of play that can be established in a new Kingdom Charter (Koninkrijkshandvest).”
The discussion paper has been sent to the First and Second Chambers of the Dutch Parliament, and the Ministry of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations BZK for their input. The previous paper of the Committee was published in April 2014.