March 14: Expert meeting, the first batch of amendments to the Public Health Law (Wpg).

The Standing Committees for Justice and Security (J&V), Public Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS), Interior and High Councils of State / Public Affairs and King’s House (BiZa / AZ) are organizing an expert meeting on the amendment of the first tranche of the Public Health Law.

During this meeting, the experts will give an introduction to three topics, after which there will be room for exchanging views with the committee members. Among others, the need for pandemic preparedness, crisis management, and parliamentary oversight in taking measures and limiting basic rights will be discussed. The expert meeting will be chaired by Senator Tanya Klepp-Martin, Chair of the VWS Standing Committee.

The meeting will be broadcast live via the homepage and the public can attend the meeting in the public gallery.

09:00 – 09:05 Hello

9:05 AM – 10:00 AM Topic 1: The Need for Pandemic Preparedness and Potential Tools for Pandemic Dissemination

  • 1.

    Marion Koopmans, Professor of Virology at Erasmus MC Rotterdam


  • 2.

    Henk Beckdam, Senior Adviser to Global Health and Former Representative of the World Health Organization


  • 3.

    Martijntje Smits, member of the Fourth Wave Initiative Group

10.00 – 10.55 The second theme: crisis management, division of powers and parliamentary oversight

  • 1.

    Michel Dockers, Professor by Special Appointment in the Department of Crisis, Safety and Health at the University of Groningen


  • 2.

    Roel Becker, former Secretary General of the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport and Emeritus Professor of Employment Relations in the Public Sector at Leiden University


  • 3.

    Adriaan Wierenga is a researcher in emergency law at the Center for Public Order and Security (COOV) of the University of Groningen.

10:55 – 11:05 Break

11.05 – 12.00 Third Topic: Restriction of Fundamental Rights in the Context of the State’s Emergency Law – Evaluation Framework

  • 1.

    Ryan de Jong is Associate Professor of Constitutional Law at Radboud University Nijmegen


  • 2.

    Ingrid Lijten is Professor of Dutch and European Constitutional Law at Tilburg University


  • 3.

    Marjolene Oldy Monykhov, Deputy Director of the Office of Social and Cultural Planning

12.00 closing

This proposal creates a legal framework that can be “activated” at the moment of emergence of a potentially pandemic infectious disease and if required by the public health interest. The legal framework is dormant and invalid law in a normal situation. Existing group A infectious diseases are divided into groups A1 and A2. An infectious disease is classified as group A1 if the disease has the potential to cause a pandemic. For infectious diseases of type A1, it may be necessary to take measures of a (larger) group to combat them. Group A2 is equal to the current group A.

Once an infectious disease is classified by ministerial regulations as a category A1 infectious disease, a bill to regulate this will follow in the Wpg. This also applies to bills regulating the curtailment of a Class A infectious disease, the expansion and curtailment of the powers of collective measures, or the use of emergency powers. The expansion and reduction of collective measures are regulated by Ministerial Regulations, before both Houses. If there is an urgent need or if a measure is no longer necessary or proportionate, it is possible to proceed with the relevant regulations.

This summary is based on the draft law and the explanatory memorandum submitted by the government to Parliament. Subsequently, some amendments were made to the bill, including the legal basis for the expiration period of serious collective measures and the eight-week expiration period for collective measures based on emergency power.


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