On Tuesday, the Dutch Parliament will debate the planned fusion of the municipality of Haren with Groningen and Ten Boer. The residents of Haren are opposed to the plans.
According to the Groningen Internet Courant, talks about merging the municipalities have been going on for five years. The residents of Haren want the municipality to remain independent, but the province of Groningen has stated that the town cannot afford to go it alone. The province has advised parliament to vote in favour of the merger, and minister of the interior Kajsa Ollongren supports the plans.
Haren residents are hoping that there will be a proper debate on the plans in parliament. During a working visit, the residents explained their concerns to the MPs. A financial plan which was approved of by the Centre for Research on the Economy of Local Authorities stated that Haren’s financial status alone cannot be the only reason for the merger.
The MPs have already submitted formal questions to minister Ollongren, who continues to argue that Haren lacks a sustainable future perspective and that there is some doubt about the effectiveness of measures the municipality has already taken. The residents of Haren feel that Ollongren is making those statements based on incomplete information.
The parliament will ultimately have to approve of Ollongren’s plans before they can be implemented.