Citing Haren’s weakened financial position and lack of administrative power, interior minister Kajsa Ollongren affirms that the national government is in favor of redrawing the borders of the municipalities of Haren, Groningen and Ten Boer.
While Ollongren stated she would prefer to see more goodwill for the plans from the bottom up, in light of Haren’s debts, low solvency and limited options for raising taxes, the minister asserted it was too risky to assume that Haren would be able to continue going it alone.
According to the minister, it remains uncertain whether recent steps taken by Haren to will be able to adequately improve the situation. The minister shares the view of the province of Groningen that a well thought-out administrative solution may prove necessary.
Dagblad van het Noorden reports that the municipality of Haren remains opposed a merger and feels the province has pushed through the plans unlawfully. “I can tell you that I’m not happy with this”, says Meinard Wolters, chairperson of Gezond Verstand Haren. VVD, CDA, GroenLinks, SP, ChristenUnie, SGP and 50 Plus representatives in the Dutch parliament question whether there is sufficient support within the municipalities for a potential merger.