Most Dutch political parties in the European Parliament are critical of how the European Commission responded to the coronavirus crisis. The FvD, VVD and PvdA think the European Commission responded too slowly. The CDA thinks Europe is struggling because the Commission doesn't have the power to take real action. Only the D66 said that the Commission took some excellent initiatives, NOS reports after speaking to the parties.
Non-EU citizens living in the Netherlands as residence permit holders are entitled to claim a special financial support benefit set up for self-employed people in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the State Secretary of the Justice and Security Ministry confirmed on Friday. Eligibility criteria around Tozo, a type of financial assistance for entrepreneurs, sole proprietors, and other business owners has caused confusion ever since late March, after the government announced its plan to support the business community by injecting between 10 and 20 billion euros into the economy.
Minister of Finance Wopke Hoekstra has voiced his disapproval at the prospect of KLM's top boss, Pieter Elbers, receiving a pay increase this year, calling the possibility "unwise". This comes after a meeting agenda for KLM stakeholders, which indicates the CEO could receive a bonus that would effectively double his 2020 salary, was leaked to the newspaper De Telegraaf on Friday.
A photo showing protesters in Sudan was named the World Press Photo of the year 2020. The photo is titled "Straight Voice" and was taken by Yasuyoshi Chiba, press photographer for AFP. The World Press Photo Story of the Year was awarded to "Kho, the Genesis of a Revolt" by Romain Laurendeau.
French President Emmanuel Macron has voiced strong criticism toward the Netherlands for not standing in solidarity with crisis-stricken EU neighbors such as Italy and Spain. Speaking in an interview on Thursday with the British newspaper Financial Times, Macron slammed the Dutch and German responses to the European Union crisis, calling them a threat to the "very functioning of Europe and the eurozone".
The European recovery plan for the economy must focus on making the EU economy greener, more circular, more sustainable, according the European Commissioner Frans Timmermans. "We must not return to a carbon spewing economy," he said in an open letter in seven European newspapers, including NRC, on Thursday.
Even though people want the Netherlands to open back up and relax the rules imposed in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the country "cannot open all at once," said Prime Minister Mark Rutte at a press conference on Wednesday. The rules will be relaxed based on the ability to reduce pressure on the healthcare system, protect elderly people and people in poor health, and attain more insight into the spread of the virus.
Minister Kasja Ollongren of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations is returning to her post after a months-long absence due to health issues. She will be back at work handling her full portfolio from Wednesday, NOS reports.
The government will set up a separate scheme to help support flexible and temporary workers who lost their jobs due to the coronavirus. The scheme is expected to cost hundreds of millions of euros and will be implemented in the coming days, after opposition party PvdA managed to get support from GroenLinks and the four coalition parties for it, AD reports.
Left-wing opposition parties GroenLinks, SP, and PvdA want the government to ban rent increases and evictions during the coronavirus crisis. According to the parties, the government is not doing enough to protect tenants through this crisis, RTL Nieuws reports.
A group of 60 scientists wrote a letter to the government to voice concerns about using apps to track and combat the coronavirus, describing the plan as "invasive". "The use of apps should not affect our fundamental rights and freedoms," they said in their letter, RTL Nieuws reports.
The government of Sint Maarten temporarily banned the sale and purchase of alcohol while the island is in lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus. This measure follows reports that incidents of domestic violence on the island was increasing under lockdown, local newspaper The Daily Herald reports.
A majority in the lower house of Dutch parliament is in favor of sheltering refugees currently staying in overfull camps on the Greek island of Lesbos on cruise ships in order to prevent the coronavirus from spreading among them like wildfire. The parliamentarians called on the Dutch government to push for this solution on a European level, AD reports.
The Netherlands' annual war commemoration on Remembrance Day will look very different than usual due to the coronavirus. The actual commemoration on Dam Square will only be attended by King Willem-Alexander, Queen Maxima, Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Amsterdam mayor Femke Halsema, and Gerdi Verbeet of organizers National Committee 4 and 5 May. All Liberation Day festivals have been canceled, the committee announced.
Somewhere between several hundred and 3 thousand Dutch-Moroccan people are trapped in Morocco by the hard lockdown the country implemented to curb the spread of the coronavirus. The Moroccan-Dutch association SMN thinks they're trapped because of the strained relationship between the Netherlands and Morocco. Because other European countries, including France and Great Britain, have been able to repatriate citizens despite the lockdown, NOS reports.
The Marechaussee, the branch of the military tasked with patrolling Dutch borders, spent the beginning of the weekend stopping motorists as they entered the country from Germany and Belgium. This comes as Easter weekend brings with it new concerns around the transmission of Covid-19, but the country has not issued a national entry ban which would permit the Marechaussee to block tourists from the neighboring countries.
A number of municipalities in the Netherlands have put in place new measures in order to avoid drawing crowds over Easter weekend. This comes as police and municipal authorities across the country continue to dish out fines for violations of the social distancing rules currently in place.
Hospitals, sector organizations and manufacturers are critical of how long it took the Ministry of Public Health and the national consortium of medical supplies LCH to start buying and producing medical masks. Bed manufacturer Auping and filter manufacturer Afpro announced Thursday that the first of their millions of masks will be ready by end April. But according to those involved, this could have started much earlier, NRC reports.
After a failed marathon meeting of some 16 hours on Tuesday, the Eurogroup managed to come to an agreement to help the EU countries most affected by the coronavirus crisis. A total of some 500 billion euros will be made available for this. The agreement "was not without a struggle", Minister Wopke Hoekstra of Finance said to NU.nl, but he is satisfied with the package, calling it "sensible and solidary".
The police in Germany are starting random checks on Dutch motorists at border crossings from Friday. Those who do not have a good reason to drive into Germany will be sent away. And failure to comply with German rules against the coronavirus can result in a fine of at least 200 euros, RTL Nieuws reports.
This includes having more than two people in a car. Dutch are also not allowed to go on a shopping spree or visit any German attractions. A quick shop for groceries and going to refuel your car are both still allowed.
Residents in Amsterdam will no longer need to separate plastic recycling from their trash once city-owned waste management firm AEB launches a new setup to separate out plastic and drink cartons for them. "If we separate it after collection, we are less dependent on good behavior," the city said in a statement.
The machines used for this task have improved significantly, the city said. "As a result, machines can separate more plastic than we Amsterdammers ourselves."
There is "zero chance" that life in the Netherlands will return to normal after April 28, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said at a press conference on Thursday. The current rules in place around social distancing, specifically that people are required to keep a distance of 1.5 meters from others, will be kept in place for a while longer, Rutte said after the cabinet held a meeting to discuss Covid-19 measures.
The Dutch football federation KNVB is planning to resume its professional football season on June 19. For this to happen, clubs would need to start training by May 15, despite the fact that football has been banned until at least June 1. The mayors of several cities with football teams were not in agreement with the plans.
The KNVB's plans are dependent on updates regarding coronavirus distancing measures in place in The Netherlands. Prime Minister Mark Rutte is expected to update the nation on April 21 over these issues.
After over 16 hours of discussions overnight, the European Ministers of Finance still could not come to an agreement on a financial support package of 540 billion euros for countries hit hardest by the coronavirus. The negotiations will continue on Thursday.