Virtual parliaments and the need for deliberation especially in times of pandemic

7 May 2020

On Tuesday, 7 April the Dutch Eerste Kamer approved an urgent bill digital decision-making for local authorities, de spoedwet digitale besluitvorming. The law ensures that municipal councils, provincial states, water boards as well as island councils will be able to take decisions digitally for as long as they cannot meet during the Corona crisis (it now applies until September, with a possible extension). The law does not, however, provide for possibility of digital decision-making for the national parliament in the Netherlands, i.e. the Tweede Kamer and Eerste Kamer. Both chambers still meet in person, though plenary sessions have been scratched from the agenda save for the most urgent ones relating to Covid-19.