In recent months, concerns about the deterioration of the business climate have become clear across the country. More than 70 parties joined a manifesto signed earlier this year by more than 50 mayors and business organizations VNO-NCW and MKB-Nederland. The Netherlands thrives on strong clusters in which small and large companies, knowledge institutions and governments work together. They rely heavily on a good business climate, but see this deteriorating in six areas.
Eddy van Hijum deputy of Economic Affairs province of Overijssel: 'In all corners of the Netherlands, education, business and government are working together regionally to create a smarter and cleaner Netherlands. We have solutions to global issues such as a sustainable food supply, energy storage and better health. This does require substantial investments in education, research, innovation and accessibility so that we can capitalize on the economic potential of all regions.'
Robert-Jan Smits, chairman of the board of TU Eindhoven, also sees the business climate deteriorating. He advocates a delta plan for knowledge, read: for education, research and innovation, a plan that runs over cabinet periods. If we can do it for our protection against water, surely this should also be possible for knowledge. Let us not forget that now that natural gas has been banished, knowledge is the only resource we have left. However, it requires a reliable and predictable government that invests generously and with a multi-year perspective in the earning power of tomorrow.'
Ingrid Thijssen, president of VNO-NCW: 'We are still in good shape on many points on the face of it. But under the hood there is a deterioration of the business climate in many areas, while other countries have made them more attractive for business investment. We worry, for example, about the school performance of Dutch children. But also about the reduced stability of our government policy. Entrepreneurs dare to invest when they know where they stand. For decades the Netherlands was an example of this in the world, but we are no longer'.
Jacco Vonhof, chairman of MKB-Nederland: 'We have had concerns about the business climate for some time and it is good to see that we are not alone in this. Our concerns have certainly not diminished after the recent General Political Consultations and the new tax increases for companies. It is not only international companies that have concerns about this, but family businesses as well. They are also very concerned about the growing regulatory burden and the business succession regulation.
Action needed in six areas
'For the Netherlands to remain attractive, action is needed on six fronts: a good living environment, a well-educated workforce, world-class knowledge and innovation, excellent connections within the Netherlands and abroad, a strategic industrial policy and a reliable and predictable government,' the manifesto said.
Want to know more?
See the manifesto sent today to the informers with all the names of the 120 signatories on page 5.