"Fan mear nei better"
From more to better
FNP programme for 2011-2015
Adopted by the General Members' Meeting on 12 November 2010
The 7 core values of the FNP
Democracy: The FNP believes that governing power is derived from the people. People must be involved as much as possible in the processes of public administration.
Federalism: The FNP sees the state as an organization which provides people and local communities with the right and the means to shape their own environment as much as possible. The FNP wants more power for the provinces, a stronger provincial government and thus a stronger Fryslân.
Internationalism: The FNP focuses on what binds people together and views the world as a federation of communities. Human rights and respect for other cultures and world views occupy centre stage in this.
Language and culture: Language and culture provide a vital contribution
to people's identity and, as such, to their sense of well-being.
The FNP wants to foster a stronger Frisian identity and, for this reason is commited
to the promotion of Frisian language and culture. The FNP sees Fryslân as a place
where other languages and cultures such as Bildts and Stellingwarfs are also practiced,
respected and appreciated.
Entrepreneurship: The FNP wants to give ample scope to initiative, creativity, responsibility and entrepreneurship, so that people and communities are able to develop themselves fully.
Solidarity: The FNP is a party for the community at large. Maintaining and reinforcing solidarity requires mutual respect and understanding between the rich and the poor, the young and the old, the healthy and the sick, so that no one is marginalised.
Sustainability: The FNP aims to leave a sustainable world for future generations. Instead of depleting resources, the FNP is searching for an economic existence in a form that will guarantee a better equilibrium between consumption and conservation.
Introduction: from ‘more' to ‘better'
The FNP is a political party that works on behalf of all the people of Fryslân. The interests of Fryslân are first and foremost the starting point for FNP. What really matters to the FNP is that the people of Fryslân should be able to determine their own future as much as possible. Whatever emerges from The Hague or Brussels that also touches Fryslân must therefore also be in Fryslân's interests. The FNP is not a branch of the parties in The Hague, which makes it the party of choice to represent Fryslân. And represent Fryslân it does, on municipal executives, water boards, the Provincial Council, the Senate via the Independent Senate Group (Onafhankelijke Senaatsfractie or OSF) and via the European Free Alliance (EFA) in the European Parliament.
Fryslân is not an island. That is why the FNP is open to collaboration both in the Netherlands and throughout Europe. Because of its open attitude the FNP is prepared to take on responsibilities and to translate political programmes into administrative action in conjunction with others. You can count on the FNP!
We have left the times of automatic growth of the economy, the population and finance behind. Instead it is time to tighten our belts. This requires a new and different approach. After a long period of more, still more and more again (industrial estates, roads and housing) it is now about quality more than it has ever been before. Progress does not have to mean bigger and more all the time. The free market has reached its limits. What say ordinary people and their parliamentary representative have in matters close to home has continued to grow smaller and smaller. Expansion has been at the increase of manageability and affordability. Power and utility services, care and housing have been privatised and are no longer able to be kept under proper control. The FNP wants to return democratic control to the community wherever possible. Hence our motto: from ‘more' to better. And this is why the FNP dares to make the choice.
The division of tasks between the municipalities, the province, the state and the district water boards has to change. The FNP believes that Fryslân and its provincial government needs to be made stronger. The first chapter provides a framework for a different division of powers.
The other chapters each deal with a different aspect of how the FNP looks at topics and provide details of a concrete approach.
This election programme is intended for the Provincial Council elections. For that reason the emphasis has been placed on what we feel the province needs to do. However, from time to time we will obviously also comment on cooperation with other levels of government. And here too our motto "from more to better" is equally relevant.
Fryslân province is a fact of life for the FNP. However, a province such as this must have its own powers and its own resources. It does not have to be done in the same way as in other provinces. With its responsibility for the Frisian language and identity, for instance, Fryslân is already one step ahead. The same applies with regard to the municipalities: they are not all the same either. Each authority has its own specific package in which its role, tasks and problems that need resolving are combined, all matters than can be arranged among ourselves. The FNP has a name for this specially tailored package for Fryslân: Province Plus.
The FNP wants a Fryslân province that will take over that responsibility from the state while leaving other matters to the municipalities. The core tasks of the province are traffic and transport, water, Frisian language and culture and control over town and country planning and economic policy. Some tasks can be transferred straight across from the state to the province or the municipalities. That is not unique to Fryslân: this also happens in other provinces. It does not have to be the same everywhere, however; not all provinces are the same. Decentralisation of powers and resources is a good thing and means that the province will acquire more legal say about Frisian language, culture and education. Policy and management with regard to ‘Wetterskip Fryslân' (the Frisian Water Board) must be brought under the control of the province. This encourages an integrated approach and will bring about benefits in terms of efficiency.
Collaboration with other provinces
Fryslân province is inescapably confronted with its own Frisian interests when it comes to matters such as education, the economy and cultural policy. Anything less than its own administration will mean that those interests cannot be served adequately. Collaboration in the north is all very well if it means added value for Fryslân, but an increase in size of the administrative machinery for the northern part of the country is something we definitely reject.
The FNP is critical of the IPO (Association of Provincial Authorities). The interests of Fryslân are often snowed under in this interest group for the Dutch provinces. The FNP is of the opinion that the interests of rural provinces must be given more attention within the IPO.
More influence from the people of Fryslân
The FNP wants people to have direct influence on the decision-making of their government. This is the basic principle of federalism. The FNP is also of the opinion that administrators such as mayors and the Queen's Commissioner should be elected here and not be appointed from The Hague. The FNP is striving for a better division of tasks between the layers of government: the EU, the State, province and municipality. Whatever can be done locally should be done locally. When the municipality has the administrative power to perform local tasks properly for the people this does not automatically mean an increase in scale or municipal reorganisation. In any case that is only possible with support and a support base from the bottom up. For the FNP this means that reorganisation must have the demonstrable support of a substantial majority of the residents concerned. That is possible as long as it was an issue in council elections or otherwise has been made subject of a referendum.
Holding one's own in the Senate
The members of the Provincial Council elect the members of the Senate. In the Senate the FNP works together constructively with other provincial parties in the Independent Senate Group (the OSF). The more FNP members there are in the Provincial Council, the greater the influence in the OSF and the Senate. As the largest regional party, the FNP has supplied a senator for the OSF group since 2003. The input via the OSF is of great importance. It is only via this group that the FNP can make Fryslân resonate in The Hague in a direct way rather than through the intervention of the The Hague associated parties. For this reason the FNP is actively engaged in building up the OSF. The FNP members of the provincial council will therefore cast their vote for the OSF representative.
Active in Europe
The FNP has an open attitude to what is happening in the world. We want to look beyond the boundaries of Fryslân and the Netherlands. For this reason the FNP is actively putting effort into Europe. Via the EFA (European Free Alliance) political party in the European Parliament the FNP is directly able to introduce issues in Brussels that are important to Fryslân and the EU. The FNP, for example, was able to draw attention via the EFA group to the interests of the Frisian "Wadden" islands and the transportation of hazardous materials by sea container. If we want to be more involved in shaping Europe, it is important that the people have a prominent say in that, through being able, for example, to vote for genuinely like-minded European parties. For that, the countries would have to have a European Senate just like the Dutch Senate. The FNP feels that Europe is too important to leave it to The Hague. The FNP is very much in favour of active collaboration with the other Frieslands in Germany and Denmark. The FNP also wants Fryslân to maintain an active presence in places that are of political or economic importance to us, be that in The Hague, Brussels or in other countries. The FNP does not merely think of this in terms of culture. It is also about strengthening the structure of our through innovation, knowledge sharing and the promotion of exports.
In charge of our own finances
The FNP believes in a careful and prudent financial policy. The FNP wants budgets to be balanced. The Frisian NUON capital, put together by Frisian citizens some time ago, must produce sustainable returns. Large investments that involve funding from the province must demonstrably be of benefit to several generations. Without exception projects such as that must have limits imposed on them by Provincial Council decision. The hefty reduction in income from the Provincial Fund as well as a reduction in tasks means that the administrative system must make do with less in the period ahead. This can also take place through fewer regulations.
For the FNP any increase in taxes is a very last resort to keep government finances healthy. But a concrete condition for the future of the Province Plus is for the province to have its own tax domain. Income from mineral extraction disappears into the coffers of The Hague and Fryslân sees little of that return to the province, in fact less than 1% during the past 30 years. The FNP wants money that is earned here, also partly to be spent here. Fryslân must not become an implementer at the behest of the state. We should be able to decide for ourselves how we are going to spend the money. This is why the FNP wants the province to retain its own open financial management. The province's net income must be enough to allow new core tasks to be carried out in the future as well. Decentralisation must not end up as a disguised cutback from The Hague!
Top salaries that have got out of hand in housing societies, large school conglomerations and hospitals are also behind a decline in confidence in the government. For this reason the FNP wants a situation where directors and top government administrators do not to earn more than the prime minister.
Fryslân at work
The province must invest in issues that will give Fryslân an effective and efficient economic structure and will make it demonstrably stronger for the long term, such as the Frisian University Campus in Leeuwarden, or the World Trade Center (WTC) to foster export. As the capital of Fryslân, Leeuwarden will be given special attention, not only as an economic driving force, through the WTC, for example, but also the tertiary education Frisian cultural centres that are located there. It is important that the universities and colleges and other public institutions such as the court remain in this city with its boards and managing executives. The existing clusters (‘hot spots') of water technology, ship and yacht building, metal and agricultural sciences will continue to be fostered.
The FNP does not intend to continue with certain so-called ‘economic core zones' in Fryslân. The approach of doing everything along government lines has not always worked well. Enterprises are served more efficiently with an organisation that is accessible and recognisable for business people. The province must create, foster and drive favourable conditions but not become involved in businesses itself. That is up to the commercial investors.
The FNP wants the compensation money for the discontinuation of the Zuiderzee line to be used in a different way for the original purpose: substantial structural improvement in employment opportunities and the social and economic structure, with the Frisian university in Leeuwarden, for example.
The FNP aims to foster employment in rural areas on the basis of make-up, scale and character. Both more and better. A proper ICT infrastructure with fibreglass as a utility can make that possible. The province's rural policy directed at individual areas is, as far as the FNP is concerned, an example of how things need to go from now on.
Traffic and transport
As far as infrastructure is concerned, once again the FNP believes in ‘not more but better'. When new roads are constructed, a more critical appraisal is required of their use and necessity. How does the cost-benefit analysis stack up for the community? That must include future management and operational costs. All asphalt put down now must also be maintained in the future. And including open spaces and nature in the picture is also very important to the FNP.
The FNP supports the policy to improve the quality and safety of existing roads. An example of this is the construction of overpasses and roundabouts. With the major projects that are poised to be implemented, the Frisian road structure is more or less complete. The State must keep its promises with regard to the loop around Leeuwarden, the road through Harlingen and the roundabout near Joure. Possibly the relocation of a number of business to more accessible places will benefit the economy as well as the quality of life in town and country areas. The same applies to the waterways, such as in the Âlde Feanen. Major new projects must not be at the expense of the opening up of villages. Not more but better!
The FNP believes in well-managed public transport that is organised in response to demand from travellers. There needs to be accessibility and affordability for all those who want to make use of it. Because the new public transport system still has its flaws, the FNP is prepared to make a one-off investment. The stations and stop facilities, for instance, need to be placed back into government hands. The running of the public transport system is the responsibility of the public transport companies, however. In the coming period the FNP wants to work on opening up villages more effectively through individual public transport. This means an approach whereby the living quality and social function of public transport in rural areas are boosted in conjunction with the municipalities, for example, by integrating neighbourhood buses, social services and school transport. The accessibility of Leeuwarden as the rail junction of Fryslân will be expanded on as far as the FNP is concerned.
The FNP continues to support the active and offensive provincial cycling policy. At the same time we want more attention paid to public footpaths.
In addition to road capacity, safety and social connections between villages, e.g. for schoolchildren, is another matter that the FNP feels requires more attention.
Recreation and tourism
This is an important sector for the Frisian economy. In this area, too, there is a need for greater quality to meet the requirements of the tourists. The province is therefore encouraging improvement in quality and facilities for small-scale recreational accommodation (camping facilities and farm camping stays). Large-scale developments in open nature areas are not wanted. We must not kill the goose that lays the golden egg that is the peaceful open areas. Once again it is a case of: Not more but better. At this stage, the second phase of the Frisian Lakes project chiefly requires an encouragement and directorship role from the province. There is not enough money left to pay for everything ourselves. It is now up to the local entrepreneurs and municipalities to make profitable investments. General promotion and support (once again aimed at quality) from Fryslân Marketing help retain the support from the province. The province is also continuing to expand tourism via the Marrekrite and by supporting the service centre of the Frisian tourist information office (VVV).
The FNP wants a lock at Stavoren and an aqueduct at Lemmer. These must be tackled as access gateways to the watersport area located in the southwest corner of the province.
Fryslân as a community
The FNP wants to actively reinforce the strong cross connections in Frisian society. That society is more than just a collection of individuals; the cross connections consist not only of our language and culture, but also of club activities, musical life, sports and the media. The FNP does not want government cuts on provincial spending to lead to a reduction in the vitality of villages and neighbourhoods.
The FNP's vision is of an open society which treats other cultures and lifestyles with hospitality and respect. New Frisians - people who come to live here - have to adapt to the mainstream culture here, but at the same should be able to be themselves. The FNP is in favour of humane refugee policy.
Language and culture
If powers and resources for the Frisian language are decentralized to the province, policy can really begin to take shape. The further development of language and culture and everything distinctively Frisian will become a key task of the province. The FNP also wants to invest provincial funds in a University Campus in Leeuwarden, where the minority languages will become one of the priority areas. Another of the FNP's aims is to set up a Centre for Friesian Language and Culture to enhance efficient implementation of the language policy. National and provincial authorities must ensure that Friesian language and culture are promoted in all domains of society. The agreements to which the Netherlands has committed by ratifying the Charter for Regional or Minority Languages must be met.
The FNP wants more to be invested in young people. It is also in the interest of the province for young people to have a future here. The quality of schools is very important to the FNP. The province will have authority over the attainment targets for Frisian. Trilingual education - in Dutch, Frisian and English - will have to be further developed. In the long term trilingual education will become the standard in Fryslân. It has been shown that trilingual schools are among the best. Teacher training programmes will also have to be brought into line with this. It should not stop after primary school; if the FNP has its way, the province will ensure that trilingual education will follow a continuous line from toddlers' playgroup all the way to secondary vocational college and university. Assessment of Frisian language skills by the Education Inspectorate should be done in the same way as for Dutch language skills.
The FNP wants to turn Leeuwarden, our cultural capital, into a vibrant student city as well. If the FNP has its way, the connections between vocational education and industry will be improved.
The FNP is strongly in favour of promoting higher education in Fryslân. In this way we can provide young people here with prospects of good training followed by good jobs. This is beneficial to the economy and also a way of stopping the ‘brain drain'. Attracting new people also means bringing in new ideas. Innovation and links with industry are important in this context. The FNP wants the plans for our own University / University Campus Fryslân in Leeuwarden to be implemented as soon as possible - not only for the sake of education, but also because it would mean a tremendous boost for high-quality jobs. An institution like this would also generate many other jobs and a cultural spin off which would benefit Fryslân for a long time to come. It is important not to set up a copy of existing universities, but to make use of existing institutions such as Wetsus and the Fryske Akademy. An expansion of the Fryske Akademy will boost research and development in Frisian language and culture studies. The province should permanently support this endeavour.
The FNP believes that sport is an important element of society. As far as the FNP is concerned, the province should actively support sports in general for all Frisians. Top-class sport is also a good advertisement for Fryslân. With its A-status Thialf must be retained for Fryslân and the world as the outstanding skating temple it is at present. Frisian sports such as pole vaulting, ‘kaatsen' (a ball game) and Frisian draughts are part of the Frisian identity and must go on being developed. The FNP certainly believes that the province needs to continue to support those sports.
It is impossible to imagine the Frisian community without our own public broadcaster Omrop Fryslân. If it is up to the FNP, it will receive the resources that will allow it to arrange a multifaceted and full programme in Frisian as the second national language. The province will also continue to pursue the policy of promoting Frisian through new media such as the internet and social networks. For a wider reach of Frisian into the Frisian community attention will also be given to commercial initiatives. That will cut both ways: a broader base for language policy but also the fostering of a creative industry in Fryslân.
Social policy is the domain of the municipalities and will soon no longer be a core task of the province. Of primary importance for the FNP is that the existing networks of volunteers and experts can continue to develop themselves further. The FNP wants to continue to support a limited number of umbrella organisation where a community demonstrably provides added value at a provincial level. The main issue is that provincial money benefits the people where it matters and not the bureaucratic management layers. Preventive policy rather than treating symptoms.
Fryslân at home
The quality of the urban and rural environment
Fryslân is the most beautiful province in the Netherlands. And we want to keep it that way! Not more but better. With regard to town and country planning policy the FNP's basic premise is that development should be possible if it fits in with the nature and scale of the existing environment. The demand for industrial estates is dwindling. We also need to prevent that Fryslân, just like the other provinces, is filled up with ‘more of the same' buildings with clearly visible locations along the major roads. The refurbishment of existing industrial estates is therefore now being pushed through with considerable speed. That is preferable to the construction of new industrial sites. Because of the intrusion into the landscape the FNP is in favour of clearing up free-standing windmills.
A shrinking and aging population and a movement of young people to cities are a given. It makes little sense to respond in a forced manner by making growth plans and building homes for which there is no demand. What is needed are homes that will last a lifetime and affordable housing for young people who have made a conscious choice to go and live in a village with their family. Countless expensive residential building projects were a result of the setting up of housing associations or project developers with commercial adventures. The FNP wants to return the housing association to their social role for local housing. This is another reason for giving the local members of parliament a say on the councils or boards.
What makes up for the shrinking population is the fact that nowadays almost everyone has a car for work, shopping and to function as a social being. The FNP wants to see that everyone who wants to use it, is served by good public transport. Increased mobility also means that not all facilities need to be everywhere. Nor is that possible from an economic point of view. This is yet another area where an increase in scale has become a fact. Accordingly the quality of those services is becoming all the more important. People are also more demanding than before. As such, the quality of the residential environment and of facilities such as education determine the liveability of rural areas. Village housing and local council projects play a vital role in this. The FNP wants organisations such as Doarpswurk (Village work) and the Rural Offices to continue to receive lasting support from the province.
The FNP is putting great effort into preserving iconic farms, churches and other heritage buildings and does so preferably by making new zonings and usage designations possible. Darkness at night is a core condition for the quality of the environment in which we live. Policy dealing with stables, glasshouse growing, street lighting and business estates, the FNP wants to make light nuisance a more serious issue than has previously been done by the province.
Fryslân for the long haul
For the FNP 'for the long haul' means that the needs of today are not fulfilled at the expense of the needs of future generations (the definition of the Brundtland Commission). For this reason we regard the Cradle to Cradle principle as leading the way into the future. This principle is based on the notion that all products that are made can be taken apart at the end of their life. They can then be used again to make another similar sort of product. In that way raw materials are not lost but are reused time and time again. New initiatives of sustainability would have to be tested against that principle before they are supported by the province.
The FNP wants to achieve that local municipalities as much as possible take care of their own energy requirements. With modern systems in homes and in commercial premises and the insulation of homes considerable savings can be achieved. Forms of clean energy generated locally are supported as much as possible. Possibilities include solar panels, geothermal heat, cogeneration and ‘blue energy' from salt and fresh water. The province must practice sustainable and Fair Trade principles when making purchases. Prevention of waste, the reuse and economical use of raw materials is therefore preferable to combating emissions with expensive technology at the end of the pipe.
For that reason the FNP is against the storage of CO2 and storage of other foreign or hazardous materials such as radioactive and chemical waste in Frisian soil. CO2 storage as an ‘end-of-pipe' measure is not sustainable and costs a pile of money. Gas and salt extraction that cause the soils to subside irreversibly are also no longer acceptable on dry land. Where damage has already occurred it must be compensated for. The legal burden of proof must be reversed.
Noise and odour nuisance from such places as the air base, drilling locations and industry must stay within existing legal standards and contours. The FNP wants to try to make even more strict agreements with the causers. Once again the principle is: from more to better.
Fryslân's grassland birds and groundwater lowering
The effectiveness of provincial grassland bird policy will be evaluated in the period ahead. It has already become clear that groundwater lowering and further stepping up of pasture management are the causes of the reduction on the pasture bird population. For that reason, perhaps firstly in the pasture regions, the groundwater level needs to be brought to a higher level again. Mindful of the different types of soil in the peat grassland area, this is going to require a tailored approach. The consequence, however, will be that a different type of cattle farming will have to be established in those areas. The economy, leisure and nature will then be in equilibrium as the new cornerstones of existence. Farmers will naturally be compensated for those services in the general interest. In cases where the province is morally (also) responsible for damage caused by soil subsidence and pile rot as a result of groundwater lowering a damage fund will need to be created for those affected.
Farming, agriculture, the landscape and nature
Farming and agriculture have become very dependent on capital and the world market. That has harmful consequences for family businesses who are part of the local community. This increase in scale cannot be sustained, according to the FNP, also when taking the environment into account. This is another fact we cannot get around. The province does not have much influence in this private sector. Legislation from Brussels and The Hague, European agriculture subsidies and the world market have so far been the determining factor. To make Frisian farming and agriculture and therefore the economy less vulnerable would in fact require broadening, diversification, possibly into a second branch such as tourism, care farms or energy generation. Agriculture and farming have from time immemorial played the most important role in the appearance and layout of the Frisian landscape. The self-determination as practised in the Northern Friese Wouden, is an approach that is dear to the FNP heart. It is an example of effective agrarian nature management in a small-scale landscape. It is important that the province should at the same time indicate where businesses that do opt for an increase in scale can develop their operation, in areas that are able to tolerate that in terms of make-up and their landscape. Aspects that play a role in that case are agricultural traffic, light nuisance, noise and the landscape. The FNP is against gene technology for the production of food. It is something that makes us dependent on the multinationals. Moreover the possible risks of this technology to health and the environment in the longer term are still not clear. The FNP aims for organic farming and products.
Clean water and dry feet
As far as the FNP is concerned the sea dikes will not be widened on the land side but only on the sea side. Wherever possible the tidal marshes will be used as a buffer, or will be constructed afresh. The FNP is assuming an adequate pumping capacity. This is required to guarantee the safety of people and animals in the face of climate change. The pumping station at Lauwersoog will be completed in 2015. No more lowering of groundwater and where possible levels will be raised. There also needs to be an adequate water storage facility for emergencies during wet periods.
During periods of frost the province will insure that proper arrangements have been made with the district water board, whereby the pumping must not cause damage to a good safe ice surface. The FNP is arguing against an increase of the IJsselmeer water level. Use of less liquid manure, thin fertiliser and pesticides or insecticides as well as a changeover to organic practises in farming can also improve the water quality.