The Netherlands is scheduled to end its lockdown today, pending a possible extension.
The lockdown began on the 19th of December and forced all non-essential businesses to close. Essential businesses allowed to remain open include Supermarkets, the medical and legal industry and petrol stations. Nevertheless, it is likely many restrictions will remain, as the country’s health minister warned that there will not be a fast end to lockdown-like restrictions. Despite the lockdown, the Netherlands has recorded a record number of new cases, averaging just under 29,000 a day in the last week.
As the only European country to have instated a broad lockdown including vaccinated individuals, any decision to extend such restrictions is likely to lead to significant discontent with the new government. The government could attempt to counter this sentiment through increased financial support for affected individuals and businesses. In the medium-term, having harsher restrictions than other European countries could put downward pressure on the country’s economy which is projected to grow by just 0.5% in 2022. As the seventh largest economy in the EU and a major exporter, other EU members are likely to pressure the Netherlands to lift restrictions to ensure their own economic recovery from COVID-19.
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Cian is a Research Analyst and contributes to both Analysis and the Daily Brief. He specializes in Australian and European geopolitics with a particular interest in the strategic autonomy of the EU.