Dutch MP calls for the constitutional protection of the family
In the Netherlands, the family is under pressure. The Dutch government prioritises economic interests over family interests. A Dutch parliamentarian, therefore, wants to include family rights in the Dutch Constitution. But that is only the beginning, he says.
Not the economy but the family should be the focus of Dutch policies. This says the Dutch Reformed SGP parliamentarian Chris Stoffer to the Dutch Christian daily Reformatorisch Dagblad. He launches a proposal to include family rights in the Dutch Constitution and asks for the "economic, social and cultural protection" of the family.
Stoffer is an MP for the Reformed SGP party, which holds three seats in the 150-seat parliament. At the moment, "it seems as if all efforts are aimed at making both partners work as much as possible", Stoffer says. "Doing paid work and making a career are glorified. As if everything revolves around that." According to Stoffer, a shift in policy is necessary. "Among other things, our Constitution protects the right to respect for privacy. A phrase on the family could be added to that, just as is plenty of practice elsewhere in Europe."
According to Stoffer, Dutch society increasingly wants to depressure the family. "With family policies, parents can focus on work, family and care and thus be able to provide a stable foundation for their children. Then you are not just talking about how grandparents can relieve working parents, but also about what children and grandchildren can do regarding care when grandparents get old."
However, the cabinet seems to be deaf for signals from working parents, Stoffer observes. "When the House asks for a family bill, the ministers who deal with it reluctantly go to work. And the basis for tax laws and regulations in the Netherlands is still the individual rather than the family.
The Netherlands made working more financially attractive through all kinds of tax measures. Childcare allowance, for instance, was increased for working people. Families where one person earns a living thus make less claim to these tax benefits. Single earners paid up to 12 times more tax than double earners in 2022.
The SGP has long been calling for more attention to the family. The party would like the Netherlands to take an example from countries like Germany, Portugal and Spain, where family rights are named in the Constitution.
Stoffer is launching his proposal in the Dutch Family Week. This initiative aims to put the family "on the map" and, in particular, move politicians to pay more attention in government policy to the "burdens, concerns and responsibilities of the family."
A new constitutional provision to protect the family still needs further action to solve the current problems, Stoffer acknowledges. "But it is a good incentive."
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