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Arco Timmermans Discusses Protecting Social Interests on Website of Dutch Newspaper Trouw

The corona crisis has fuelled the discussion on social interests which has consequences for those looking out for these interests; it should be handled in a more socially responsible manner in which the government has an important role to play.

The corona crisis clearly shows the importance of public values and public services, according to Arco Timmermans, Professor by special appointment Public Affairs at Leiden University's Institute of Public Administration. 'There have been governments that have tried to hammer home that common decency was every citizen's responsibility. While implementing austerity measures at the same time. Yes, we have a huge social capital in this country. We’re seeing more and more people looking after each other. But the problems caused by the crisis are too big to be dealt with by a network of volunteers alone. Timmermans also states that this discussion is not only about the importance of the government but also about the clash between self-interest and social interests. 

Socially Responsible Lobby

The government's economic aid programme has resulted in a discussion on whether it was fair that certain companies were receiving government funding. The national health crisis has also reignited the debate on the high prices for medicines. These problems require a different form of lobbying, according to Arco Timmermans. 'We're seeing lobbying obstructionists who are trying to prevent the government addressing the medicine prices. The Netherlands needs a more socially responsible lobby, with more emphasis on the public interest.  

You can read the full article (in Dutch) on the website of Trouw.

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