“Are you giving farmers false hope?”

Caroline van der Plas is now the figurehead of the farmers and this BBB’er is doing well in polls. Last night she joined news hour quite questioned about her approach. Because is it giving farmers ‘false hope’ in this nitrogen crisis?

After days of farmers’ protests, the House of Representatives is currently in recess. We have to wait for mediator Johan Remkes. But there seems to be no compromise for the farmers yet. In the polls, BBB leader Caroline van der Plas has 9 to 13 seats to her name and her popularity is growing.

Presenter Jeroen Wollaars critical of Caroline van der Plas

She joined news hourโ€  the program that politicians are often critical of. Presenter Jeroen Wollaars did the same for the BBB. He pointed out, for example, that Van der Plas often talks about the ‘ridiculous’ nitrogen crisis, but does not deny that something must be done about nitrogen. The cabinet wants nitrogen emissions in the Netherlands to be reduced by 50 percent. Wollaars wonders what standard Van der Plas would like to use? To which Van der Plas responds that if the law prescribes that that 50 percent must be achieved, that must be done.

She is not completely against the nitrogen policy, the politician emphasizes. But in debates, ‘Lientje’ suggests that there would be an agenda to thwart the farmer. Wollaars also starts with that. He concludes that Van der Plas undermines science. โ€œThere is no such thing as science,โ€ responds Van der Plas. โ€œScience has continued to ask each other critical questions. I look critically at scientific reports.โ€

Double agenda

But according to Wollaars, Van der Plas uses two standards there. He talks about the journalistic research agency Agrifacts, which Van der Plas mentioned in a round table discussion in the House of Representatives. According to Wollaars, the board of this independent foundation is full farmers and farmers’ representatives โ€œThey pretend to be different than they are,โ€ he says about Agrifacts. But according to the BBB leader, that’s no secret. The presenter emphasizes that this foundation also has an agenda. โ€œExactly as you accuse scientists?โ€, but Van der Plas explains that anyone can attend a round table discussion. And different parties invite different experts.

Van der Plas in the breach for farmers at Nieuwsuur

โ€œThe farmers draw a certain hope from this, the farmers think there may still be room. Isn’t it false hope that you arouse among the farmers?”, the presenter asks Van der Plas. “You have to look closely at what the European Commission wants,” responds the BBB leader. We have to conserve nature and we have to work on that. There is no farmer in the Netherlands who says: ‘I want nature to deteriorate’โ€. According to her, you can do that by means other than “we rigorously reduce 50 or 74 percent”.

Because according to Van der Plas, farmers have been doing reductions for decades. โ€œThey didn’t sit on their hands. That farmer, that’s the craftsman. In the Netherlands we are very bad at involving professionals. But the technocrats, the civil servants and everything that surrounds them, they are involved. Craftsmanship must be leading in the Netherlands and farmers have proven that they are professionals.โ€

Do you want to watch the broadcast of Nieuwsuur? You can find last night’s episode here.

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Nieuwsuur presenter puts Caroline van der Plas to the test: ‘Do you give farmers false hope?’