Pressure and coercion

Minister Hugo de Jonge indicated in an interview in De Telegraaf that the cabinet is considering designating building sites in our country by force if necessary. Partly because the major goal – to build 100,000 homes a year – already seems to be out of date. “If there is too long of a discussion about whether a location is suitable, it may be necessary to cut a knot sooner or later,” he said in an interview with the national newspaper. Of course, coercion is never a first choice, but if it must be done, then it is better to cut the knot early. Because, in fact, we have already waited too long.

Housing is scarce, there is hardly any supply for starters and seniors, prices are skyrocketing due to the shortage and other circumstances, etc. These problems are known and have existed for years. Also increasing numbers of migrant workers, status holders and recently the war refugees from Ukraine impose an additional pressure and make the problem even greater and more urgent, says the minister. How he will apply this coercion still has to be seen, but De Jonge is already putting some pressure on municipalities and provinces. Moreover, he indicates that the provision of temporary housing is becoming a bitter necessity in view of the enormous and growing need. Everything is possible and necessary, according to De Jonge, from converting offices to creating temporary, prefabricated homes. The minister states that he speaks to many benevolent administrators of municipalities and provinces, but he also knows that benevolence is not always enough in politics. “I do not exclude that we will have to use all instruments,” he concludes, including coercion.

I just note that the national government has some butter on its head. The cabinet itself has not excelled in decisiveness over the past four years either. And speaking of obstacles, I would point to the Omgevingswet, postponed for the umpteenth time. I would say: kill that whole law anyway. Because the necessary ICT system behind it is so complicated that it still doesn’t work after seven years of hard work. If we’re talking about speeding up and forcing things, then put your energy into legislation that will shorten procedures and make it impossible for a few people to endlessly delay building plans. Yes, consultation and participation are important, but the legislation now offers too many opportunities to a few people who don’t want to see their living environment changed at all.