A majority in the Tweede Kamer voted on Tuesday for an emergency legislative proposal to freeze the amount of healthcare own-risk deductibles at 385 euros next year. The Eerste Kamer also voted in the bill later on Tuesday, NU.nl reports.
The new Dutch government is giving an extra 1.5 billion euros to Defense, sources told the Telegraaf based on the financial plans the VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie sent to central planning office CPB. Two thirds of that money is for catching up on overdue maintenance, the rest for investment, according to the newspaper.
That the new government plans to push more money into Defense, comes as no surprise. During the campaigns preceding the parliamentary election in March, all parties except GroenLinks, SP and DENK said they wanted more money to go towards the Dutch armed forces.
The VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie decided not to increase healthcare own-risk deductibles next year, government formation mediator Gerrit Zalm announced in a letter sent at the insistence of the Tweede Kamer. To compensate for that, health insurance premiums will increase by an extra 10 euros per year, RTL Nieuws reports.
The people of the Netherlands are currently not very enthusiastic about the still forming government of VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie, according to a study Ipsos did on behalf of broadcaster NOS. Only a quarter are positive about a government consisting of those four parties, around 33 percent are negative about it and over 40 percent have no strong feelings either way, NOS reports.
Shocked and sad reactions met Amsterdam mayor Eberhard van der Laan's announcement that he is stepping down due to his metastasized lung cancer. Van der Laan (PvdA) announced on Monday afternoon that he is resigning, based on the advice of his doctors. One Amsterdam city council member described the news as "a punch to the face", RTL Nieuws reports.
The VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie - the four parties currently negotiating forming a new Dutch government together - voted against permanently compensating the NIP-test for all pregnant women in the Tweede Kamer on Tuesday, NOS reports. Those four parties together make up a majority in the lower house of Dutch parliament.
The new Dutch cabinet - Rutte III - will have three more Ministers than the current one, according to the Telegraaf. That will bring the total number of Ministers up to 16.
According to the newspapers, the new Ministers will be for Immigration and Integration, Climate Affairs, and Agriculture. Exactly what these portfolios will hold, is still being negotiated in the formation talks between the VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie.
The health insurance premium and mandatory own risk contribution will increase further in the coming years, newspaper Telegraaf and news wire ANP report based on anonymous sources.
Months long talks between the unions and employers about new rules for flexible work and dismissal law, failed. No agreement could be reached. This means that the parties on the government formation table - the VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie - will have to come up with reforms themselves, possibly without the support of the employers and employees, which could cause delays in the government formation, AD reports.
The parties negotiating forming a new Dutch government together are currently talking about scrapping consultative referendums, which means that citizens will no longer be able to give an advisory vote on changes in legislation, RTL Nieuws reports based on sources. The VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie are also negotiating mayoral elections - allowing the residents of municipalities to vote for their mayor, according to the broadcaster.
The VVD and PvdA managed to come to an agreement on increasing teachers' salaries in next year's budget, PvdA leader Lodewijk Asscher announced on Wednesday night. The two parties agreed that a "substantial amount" will go towards teachers in the 2018 budget. With that a government crisis was averted, and the departing VVD-PvdA coalition lives to see another day, AD reports.
The VVD and PvdA may have found a solution to resolving their disagreement about increasing teachers' salaries in the budget for next year, VVD chairman Halbe Zijlstra said before entering the second round of budget talks at the Ministry of Finance on Wednesday afternoon, AD reports.
Exactly what this solution is, he did not say. "We're now going to see if it really is a solution", Zijlstra said to the newspaper.
It's D-day for the VVD and PvdA government. The 2018 budget must be finalized today, so that it can be submitted to the Council of State on Thursday, but the parties are still clashing over salary increases for teachers, the Telegraaf reports.
The compromise reached by the departing government on increasing teachers' salaries, is still on shaky ground. The VVD and PvdA reached an agreement, but formation parties CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie are reluctant to give the go-ahead, AD reports.
The current government plans to make more money available for teacher salaries, primary school education and Defense in a compromise to solve a conflict about teacher salaries between the VVD and PvdA, Prime Minister and VVD leader Mark Rutte confirmed. Though he stressed that there is no deal yet, NU.nl reports.
The negotiations on forming a new Dutch government will happen outside The Hague on Thursday and Friday. The VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie will be meeting on De Zwaluwenberg in Hilversum, the workplace of the Inspector General of the Armed Forces, for those two days, NOS reports.
The terrorist attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils on Thursday and Friday emphasize the need to hurry with the government formation, VVD leader Halbe Zijlstra said at the start of the formation talks on Friday morning. "A country without a government is really something you should not have for too long, certainly not in this time", he said to newspaper AD.
Zijlstra called the attacks terrible.
Spain was hit by two terrorist attacks. The first in Barcelona on Thursday afternoon, the second in Cambrils during the early hours of Friday morning. Thirteen people were killed and over 100 others were injured, including three Dutch, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed. Their condition is not life threatening, NOS reports.
The attack in Barcelona happened around 5:00 p.m. A van drove onto the Ramblas, crashing into dozens of people. Thirteen people were killed and over 100 ended up in hospital, including the three Dutch. The perpetrators fled.
The VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie - the four parties currently negotiating forming a new Dutch government together - want to take several measures to strengthen the position of LGBTI people in the Netherlands, AD reports based on a draft government agreement the newspaper managed to get hold of.
The four parties currently negotiating forming a new Dutch government together want to obligate schools to teach their students the text, meaning and melody of the Wilhelmus, the Dutch national anthem, AD reports based on a draft text of the government agreement the newspaper managed to get hold of.
The four parties negotiating forming a new Dutch government together reached a compromise on medical ethics issues, AD reports based on a draft text for the government agreement. It says that the government will not make any proposals to expand the euthanasia law to allow assisted suicide for elderly people at the end of a full life, but will make more stem cell research possible, according to the newspaper.
Negotiators for the VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie seem increasingly optimistic that the four parties will be able to form a government together, from the statements they gave before the start of the talks on Friday, NU.nl reports.
The parties already "ticked off" some issues", VVD negotiator Halbe Zijlstra said. They're "booking real progress in many areas", said ChristenUnie leader Gert-Jan Segers. "We really had a good week." D66 leader Alexander Pechtold added that "the past two days at least were meaningful".
The end of the Dutch government formation talks between the VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie is not yet in sight, the party leaders confirmed on Wednesday following the first day of talks after the summer vacation. The D66 and ChristenUnie are still struggling to agree on issues of "principle" like abortion and assisted suicide.
Dutch food and consumer product safety authority NVWA denies that it first learned that eggs were maybe contaminated by toxic fipronil in November last year. The authority did receive a report about fipronil in that month, but that report only stated that it had been used to clean stables - there was no reason to believe that it could end up in eggs and pose a potential health risk, inspector general Rob van Lint said on Wednesday, RTL Nieuws reports.