July 10, 2023 –THE HAGUE – The governments of Curaçao, Aruba, and Sint Maarten can breathe a sigh of relief. Over the weekend, they feared that the refinancing of the COVID-19 loans, set to expire on October 10, would be declared controversial by the Dutch House of Representatives. However, today the House decided to postpone the determination of controversial issues until mid-September. It is expected that a deal on the refinancing of the COVID-19 loans will already be finalized by then.
Initially, the committees were supposed to determine next week which topics the caretaker cabinet is no longer allowed to work on. However, due to many Members of Parliament being on vacation in the coming weeks, this has been postponed to early September. This means that State Secretary Van Huffelen has the freedom to negotiate an agreement with the countries within the Dutch Caribbean.
While the extension of the COVID-19 loans is certain, negotiations are still ongoing regarding the conditions, particularly the duration and interest rates. If Aruba continues to refuse cooperation in the establishment of a Kingdom Act for financial supervision, the country will not qualify for favorable interest rates. Similarly, Curaçao and Sint Maarten face the same fate if they fail to secure 600 to 700 million guilders in the short term to save the pensions of around 30,000 Ennia clients.
As for the Caribbean Netherlands, they will have to wait until September to find out whether the House decides to postpone the social minimum dossier until after the new government takes office.