Saga Around Beatrix Sailboat Continues: Maintenance Will Stay With Defence Department
The maintenance costs of Princess Beatrix’ sailboat have been a topic of debate in Dutch parliament since 2007. Due to an electorate that lost all sense of direction and a hysterical press, the debate about the costs has become a perfect tool for a group of politicians to get their faces on television and to scratch the varnish of the throne.
Princess Beatrix received the ‘Groene Draeck’ (Green Dragon) from the Dutch state upon her 18th birthday. The gift included an annual maintenance of the boat for the duration of Beatrix’s life. In 2007 the topic was raised in parliament as some MP’s thought the gift rather expensive and wanted to come back on their promise.
A few months ago it appeared that the maintenance costs of the boat were 95.000 Euros annually, a staggering amount of money for such a small ship. The maintenance is done by the ministry of defence, which lacks the skills to do it cheaper. Overhead and inefficiency were supposedly to blame for the high costs.
Yesterday the prime minister presented a report to parliament which says that the costs could be decreased with only 8.000 euros if a private company would take care of the maintenance. The prime minister prefers to keep the maintenance in the hands of the defense department. If the government would look for a private party, EU regulations dictate that companies from all over the EU can offer a bid and the government will be forced to accept the lowest one.
The 8000 euros that could be saved is much less than members of parliament expected. Earlier they claimed that up to 40.000 euros could be saved each year. The irony of the story is of course that the costs of the questions in parliament will be a multitude of the costs that will or could have been saved on the maintenance. To answer one question in parliament costs 3750 euros, and considering the amount of questions on this topic, the costs would have covered the maintenance of the ship for several years.
Why parliament choses to micromanage this topic and waste so much time and money on what is such a very small sum of money on the annuel budget is perplexing. For several years a group of parties have tried to scratch the monarchy. Each and every small thing has been discussed in parliament repeatedly with an increased hysteria. The tactic seems to be working: support for the monarchy has decreased significantly over the last ten years. Officially no party in Dutch parliament is republican, even the former Maoist party SP dropped its republican views in the nineties.Filed under The Netherlands
Tagged Finances, Groene Draeck, Parliament, Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands.