Main theme introductory interview with new chairman SER Netherlands

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‘Broad prosperity approach to country package Curaçao’

Willemstad, Curacao – An official delegation of the Social-Economic Council (SER) of Curaçao, together with colleagues from the SERs of Aruba and Sint Maarten, recently participated in an important working visit to the Social-Economic Council of the Netherlands in The Hague during which an introductory lunch was held with Prof. Dr. Kim Putters, who took office last year as the new Chairman of the SER of the Netherlands.

The introductory lunch with Mr. Putters focused on the possible application of the broad welfare approach as a conceptual framework in the further design and implementation of the reform measures as included in the three Country Packages. Since the SER of the Netherlands already has experience with the use of the broad welfare approach, valuable insights and best practices were shared with the delegations of the socio-economic advisory councils of the three Caribbean countries of the Kingdom.

Broad prosperity is about the integral focus on economic growth as well as sustainability, social cohesion and inclusion.

In addition to his role as president of SER Netherlands, Prof. Dr. Kim Putters was appointed as university professor of ‘Broad Prosperity’ at Tilburg University on September 16 last year. The working visit therefore offered an excellent opportunity to exchange views with him on the feasibility and practicability of approaching the reform themes in the Curaçao Country Package from a broad welfare perspective. During the introductory lunch there was an extensive discussion on this subject in which Putters showed great interest in the possible application of this approach to welfare to the situation in the three Caribbean countries. He emphasized the importance of this integral approach and also stressed the importance of local involvement and participation in shaping policy.

The official delegation of SER Curaçao was very pleased with the constructive discussions and the exchange of knowledge and experience during the working visit. Director and Secretary General Drs. Raul Henriquez recognized the potential of the broad welfare approach to promote sustainable development and welfare in Curaçao. He indicated that the Curaçao Socio-Economic Advisory Board would like to further cooperate with the SER of the Netherlands to effectively apply this approach within the framework of the Mutual Arrangement Cooperation in Reforms, which was signed April 4, 2023, by the Dutch Secretary of State for Kingdom Relations Ms. Alexandra van Huffelen and the Prime Ministers of Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten.

Mr. Putters got therefore an official written invitation by the SER Curaçao delegation to make a working visit to the island in the second half of this year, during which he will act as guest of honor during a special event on the theme of broad prosperity in relation to the Curaçao Country Package. This event will provide an excellent opportunity to further discuss the insights and best practices gained and have a broader discussion on the implementation of a broad welfare approach in the context of Curaçao.

According to Henriquez, the working visit further strengthened ties between the two organizations and led to a fruitful exchange of ideas and perspectives. “The Curaçao SER remains committed to promoting sustainable development and well-being in Curaçao, with a specific focus on approaching the reform themes in the Curaçao Country Package from a broad welfare approach”.

In addition to SER Netherlands, working visits were made to the Advisory Council on Migration, the Social-Cultural Planning Office (SCP), the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PLB), the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), the Ministry of Social Affairs and Welfare (SWZ), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (BUZA), the Ministry of Interior and Kingdom Relations (BZK) and SER Brabant/Brabant Advies. The potential of the broad welfare approach in the further design and implementation of the Country packages was also discussed in detail with these institutions. Of importance was the exchange of views that the Curaçao SER delegation had with the Director of Kingdom Relations/Countries at the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations Mrs. mr. drs. Saskia de Reuver.