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NL: Dutch Prime Minister visits rose grower

Prime Minister Mark Rutte visited SK Roses in Westland last Friday. The reason was the current crisis situation due to the sky-high energy prices, about which they exchanged thoughts in the presence of the chairman of Ondernemend Nederland Hans Biesheuvel.

The Koene brothers, along with Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Hans Biesheuvel. Photo: Glastuinbouw Nederland 

The prime minister has a fondness for the rose grower, which he also visited two years ago at the time of the worst corona events. "The prime minister was very interested in our story but obviously couldn't make any promises about possible solutions," said farm manager Marc Koene.

Photo: Glastuinbouw Nederland

Besides energy, Glastuinbouw Nederland reports, "a broad palette" of topics was discussed. These included the guarantee scheme and the SDE problem, the role of Groningen, the effect of empty greenhouses, a cap on gas, and communication with the government.

At the same time, however, it is difficult not to strike a cynical tone. After collectively clamoring for help for months, it was announced, pretty much at the time of the visit itself, that the Energy Cost Contribution for energy-intensive SMEs (TEK) is hardly going to alleviate the crisis in horticulture. On LinkedIn, therefore, the prime minister has to take umbrage: 'just hope he has an active memory of it,' 'tomorrow he will have forgotten everything' and 'no confidence at all (...) that it will do anything' pretty much sum up the sentiment. Moreover, the grower 'fears he will have to stop growing roses within weeks if concrete help does not arrive soon,' Hans Biesheuvel notes. 'Despite millions in sustainable investments, such as solar panels, LED lighting, and CHP installations, the Westland company's energy bill runs into tons each month.'