Finance Minister Sigrid Kaag described the information as a state secret because its publication “may encourage speculation”. And speculation, in turn, can lead to uncertainty in financial markets, which leads to “potential negative effects on financial stability,” Kaag writes in the House.
This could harm the Netherlands’ international and diplomatic interests. If so, the information can be declared a state secret. Then there are three levels of state secrets, of which “secret” is the lowest. On top of that are the gradations “Secret” and “Top Secret”. These levels are there to indicate how bad the information leak is.
To access this classified information, MPs must first declare that they are familiar with the rules for handling state secrets. Their names are also written down. This list of names is also available only in exceptional cases.
in the cellar
The information is kept in the treasury of the Registrar, the chief civil servant serving in the House of Representatives. The MPs could then view the information one by one in a “private locked room”.
The information provided by the House of Representatives and the Ministry of Finance does not want to give any further details about the exact type of room this is. Ministry officials advise Cage not to comment on any press questions.
There are no electronic devices
The same advice states that deputies may not bring electronic devices with them, to prevent them from taking pictures of documents or recording information and smuggling it in this way.
They are allowed to take notes, but must then hand them over to an employee who keeps them in a safe place. If the topic is taken up during – of course – a closed meeting, The notes are taken from the safe. They should be returned to the clerk’s desk after the meeting.
With the help of DNB
It was not agreed how long MPs can access the information. By the way, Parliament does not even get to see the full scenarios, but only a summary of them prepared by the Ministry with the help of the Dutch Central Bank (DNB).
Such are the plans that were made around the financial crisis that began in 2008. It started in the United States, but spread to the European Union when Greece could no longer pay its debts.
At the time, there was a great fear that this would spread to other countries and that the euro would collapse. The fear was so great that emergency scenarios were drawn up if that were to happen, Jeroen Dijsselbloem said in 2014. He was the finance minister at the time.
Since the economy is also in dire straits at the moment, MPs Peter Umtzigt and Dirk Jan Ebbink (JA21) have asked to examine the scenarios. Only then can they properly carry out their mission as parliamentarians – monitoring the government, according to Umtzigt.
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