Measures to combat financial flows from countries that are not free

The government is looking at ways to prevent money from foreign countries being used to buy undesirable influence over Dutch civil society organisations, including religious and ideological organisations. The government wants the origin of such financial flows to be transparent. In a letter which has been approved by the Cabinet, Minister for Legal Protection Sander Dekker and Minister of Social Affairs and Employment Wouter Koolmees note that funding flows that abuse our liberties, originating from countries that lack freedom, must be limited as far as possible. The letter explores the possibilities for introducing legislation announced in the coalition agreement.

One possibility being considered by the government is to oblige organisations to disclose any donations they receive. In principle, this rule would only need to apply to larger donations which could be used to buy influence. Another option could be to require organisations to publish their balance sheet and statement of income and expenses, including any donations they have received. Having more access to such information means investigative agencies and supervisory bodies would be better placed to combat abuses. Mr Dekker will meet with experts and stakeholders to discuss the options further. ‘Targeted, workable rules can help us quickly see where money is coming from,’ he said. The aim is to have a draft bill ready around summer 2018.

The government is also looking at options for legislation to limit financial flows from countries that are not free. This process is being led by Minister of Social Affairs and Employment Wouter Koolmees in conjunction with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations and the Ministry of Justice and Security. The ministries will seek to identify measures that stand up legally and can be enforced. The government will provide the House of Representatives with an update in the second half of the year.