Strengthening the Dutch economy

The Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation (EL&I) promotes the Netherlands as a country of enterprise with a strong international competitive position and an eye for sustainability. It is committed to creating an excellent entrepreneurial business climate, by creating the right conditions and giving entrepreneurs room to innovate and grow. By paying attention to nature and the living environment. By encouraging cooperation between research institutes and businesses. This is how we enhance our leading positions in agriculture, industry, services and energy and invest in a powerful, sustainable country. This is the policy agenda of Minister Maxime Verhagen and Henk Bleker, Minister for Agriculture and Foreign Trade.

In 2012 the Ministry will focus on the following points:

Creating a strong international position by focusing on the top sectors

Innovation contracts will be drawn up as part of knowledge institutes’ research programmes, focusing on the top sectors. International missions will create international opportunities for Dutch businesses.

Entrepreneurs want to do business, so the Ministry makes room for enterprise and innovation

The Ministry supports investments and innovation by setting aside € 500 million for a Research and Development Allowance for businesses. For promising innovative projects more venture capital is made available via the Innovation Fund for SMBs. The regulatory burden for businesses will be addressed by reducing Chamber of Commerce membership fees by 10% and abolishing them altogether as of 2013. The Ministry has created a business web portal to improve services for the business sector.

The Ministry promotes sustainable prosperity with an eye for people and nature

The Ministry wants to decentralise nature policy and involve a wide range of parties in the implementation of the Nitrogen Programme. The Ministry also wants to bring the OECD guidelines for corporate responsibility to the attention of boards of listed companies to make them more aware of their duties.

The Ministry works towards a future-proof agricultural production and energy supply.

As of 1 January 2012 antibiotic use in agriculture is to be cut by 20%. To that end local authorities, citizens, companies and civil society will conclude green deals. Sustainable energy production will increase with the help of an incentive scheme for SMBs.

The Ministry also works towards a leaner and stronger government as promised in the government coalition agreement. The Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation will realise more than € 288 million in government cuts from the merger of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality and by giving up certain tasks. The first savings of € 49.1 million will be realised in 2012.