Dutch minister fired over coronavirus passport criticism

Mona Keijzer was sacked as state secretary of economic affairs in the Dutch government on Saturday after criticizing the corona admissions pass, which came into effect earlier that day.

In an interview with the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf printed Saturday morning, Keijzer expressed her dissatisfaction with the pass. She said it was “clear to me that it becomes increasingly difficult to explain why you have to show a proof of vaccination in one place, but not the other,” adding: “Which makes me think: are we just going to stick to this course, or are we going to organize ourselves properly?”

From Saturday, proof of vaccination or a negative test are mandatory when entering public venues in the Netherlands as most social-distancing measures have been lifted. The policy passed by a narrow margin in parliament, but clearly the government itself wasn’t in complete accord.

In a statement, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said he, with the agreement of senior members of his team, decided that Keijzer should be dismissed “with immediate effect.” 

Dutch cabinet members are constitutionally bound to speak with one voice and to express their concerns only within the ministerial council. According to the Rutte statement, Keijzer’s comments were in “direct conflict with decisions made only recently in the council.”

Her dismissal comes just after the resignation of two other members of the cabinet, as Foreign Minister Sigrid Kaag and Defense Minister Ank Bijleveldt resigned last week over the handling of the evacuation of the Dutch embassy in Kabul. 



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