Approximately 13.5 million residents of the Netherlands are eligible to vote in the European Parliament elections next week. 3.6 percent of this group do not have Dutch nationality, but are EU citizens, Statistics Netherlands reported on Friday based on population figures from 1 January 2019.
In the run-up to the European Parliament elections next week, Prime Minister Mark Rutte is talking about his vision for Europe. According to the VVD leader, his ideas about that have shifted. "Europe is market and currency, but a point has been added", he said to Nieuwsuur on Wednesday night. That point is safety. Without the European Union, the Netherlands is just a small country on its own in a big and increasingly volatile world.
Forum voor Democratie leader Thierry Baudet is taking an "irresponsible risk with our security, our stability, and our prosperity" with his positive attitude towards the Netherlands leaving the European Union, VVD leader and Prime Minister Mark Rutte said in a speech about Europe on Tuesday, NOS reports.
With the European Parliament elections only two weeks away, political parties across Europe are campaigning for what they think the European Union should be. Here follows a summary of the largest Dutch parties' views on the EU, compiled by broadcaster NOS.
The European Union needs to set different priorities, and Germany must take the lead in this, according to Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra. In his lecture at the Humboldt University in Berlin on Tuesday, he will call for more attention for European defense, for protecting the external borders, for tackling the climate problem, and for making sure that all EU member states adhere to EU rules, NOS reports.
A quarter of all websites that offer illegal downloads are hosted on Dutch servers, according to a list of such websites posted by the United States and European Union. That makes the Netherlands the second largest provider of illegal download sites, after the United States which hosts 34 percent of such sites, NU.nl reports.
The list features websites that offer torrents with illegal downloads, as well as sites that illegally stream copyrighted material.
The European Union leaders decided to grant the United Kingdom another delay for their departure from the EU. The British now have until the end of October to approve a withdrawal agreement. Prime Minister Mark Rutte was satisfied after the hours long EU summit on Wednesday. "It was important that the union continue to function and we achieved that with this decision", he said to NOS.
The Dutch government is willing to give the British another postponement for the United Kingdom's departure from the European Union, because it is also in the Netherlands best interest. "The Dutch interest is that there should be a regulated Brexit and not a hard Brexit. If postponement contributes to that, it is positive", Minister Stef Blok of Foreign Affairs said, NU.nl reports.
"We must really take a no-deal Brexit into account", Prime Minister Mark Rutte said in Luxembourg after a Benelux summit. He called on the British to "please" make up their minds and make clear how they want to leave the European Union before April 12th. "Come to a political agreement, that is really crucial", Rutte said, the Telegraaf reports.
The Netherlands could have attracted many more jobs from financial businesses fleeing the Brexit if it wasn't for the country's strict rules on bonuses, according to CEO Ralph Hamers of ING. Dutch law "has a lot of limits", Hamers said, NU.nl reports.
Under Dutch law, bonuses in the financial sector may not exceed 20 percent of the annual salary. This is a lot lower than the 100 percent limit in the European Union. "If you believe that people in the financial sector are stimulated by variable pay, then Amsterdam is not the obvious place to expand to", Hamers said.
The United Kingdom leaving the European Union with no agreements in place would be a hard blow for the Netherlands, according to German think tank Bertelsmann Stiftung. A no-deal Brexit will cost the Netherlands 3.16 billion euros per year, the think tank calculated. That amounts to 186 euros per Dutch person per year, NU.nl reports.
The Brexit happening with agreements in place will be more favorable for the Netherlands. Then the damage will be limited to 1.75 billion euros per year, or 103 euros per Dutch person per year, according to the think tank.
The British government must quickly make clear what its plans are regarding the Brexit, before a postponement can be discussed, according to Prime Minister Mark Rutte. “What good is it to continue whining at each other for months, while you’ve been spinning in that circle for two years now”, he said after the British parliament voted to postpone the Brexit on Thursday, NOS reports.
On Tuesday the British House of Commons again rejected the Brexit agreement made by British Prime Minister Theressa May and the EU with an overwhelming majority. This means a postponement or a withdrawal with no agreement is the only remaining options. "I regret the outcome of tonight's Brexit vote", Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Twitter.
The Amsterdam court of appeal decided not to end the pre-trail custody of a suspect for a remarkable reason. The upcoming Brexit was one of the main reasons the court court said it considered in denying the suspect's request to be released from pre-trial detention, according to a ruling published on Monday.
The Port of Rotterdam Authority is setting up five additional parking areas in preparation for a no-deal Brexit. These "buffer parking locations" have space for 700 trucks, for the event that carriers do not have their customs documents in order for maritime transport to the United Kingdom, NU.nl reports.
The European Union and the British government adapted the Brexit agreement on the so-called 'backstop', a safety net meant to ensure that the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland remains open when the United Kingdom leaves the EU. The British House of Commons will vote on this adapted agreement on Tuesday evening. Prime Minister Mark Rutte is pleased that an agreement was reached, he said on Twitter.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte is "not optimistic" about British Prime Minister Theresa May finding a new way to handle the so-called Irish backstop in the Brexit. "We are sleepwalking into a no deal scenario. It's unacceptable and your best friends have to warn you. Wake up. This is real. Come to a conclusion and close the deal", he said to BBC journalist Laura Keunssberg, addressing May.
The United Kingdom is not strong enough to stand on its own on the world stage, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said in interviews with European media. "It is the British who will be left weakened after the Brexit, becoming a medium-sized economy. Neither the US nor the EU". According to Rutte, the power of the UK is "waning" compared to two or three years ago. The country alone is not big enough to play a significant role internationally, Spanish newspaper El Pais quoted him.
If the European Commission and the European Union Member States make one fist together, Europe can become one of the most important players on the world stage, according to Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte. With countries like the United States, China and Russia increasingly pursuing their own interests, it is time for the EU to join forces. "Power is not a dirty word", Rutte said in his Churchill speech in Zurich on Wednesday, NU.nl reports. "It is now up to us to secure the position of Europe on the world stage."
On Tuesday Prime Minister Mark Rutte spoke to his British counterpart Theresa May about the state of affairs regarding the United Kingdom's departure from the European Union at the end of March. "Time is running out. The ball is in London's court", Rutte tweeted after this discussion.
Negotiators from the EU and UK are currently in negotiations, trying to prevent a chaotic, no-deal Brexit at the end of March. "The importance of reaching an agreement is clear to all. I support the resumption of talks in Brussels", Rutte said.
A large number of EU countries, including the Netherlands, officially recognized opposition leader Juan Guaidó as interim president of Venzuela on Monday. In a letter to parliament, Dutch Minister Stef Blok of Foreign Affairs said that the government decided to recognize Guaidó, because Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro failed to meet an ultimatum set by the European Union, NU.nl reports.
Officials from the European Commission want to launch an infringement procedure against the Netherlands for violating rules on pulse fishing, the Commission wrote in a letter to French environmental organization Bloom, which is in the possession of broadcaster NOS.
The European Commissioners still have to agree to this procedure. But according to NOS, it is rare for Commissioners to refuse a procedure. If the procedure is launched, it could result in the Netherlands having to adjust its policy, which can have major consequences for Dutch pulse fishermen.
Customs sent letters to 72,277 Dutch entrepreneurs who do business with the United Kingdom to warn them of the consequences of a no-deal Brexit. Most of them are still poorly prepared, and for many of them it is already too late, Customs director Nanette van Schelven said to Financieele Dagblad.
The Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, will get some control over an emergency law for the event of a no-deal Brexit. Minister Stef Blok of Foreign Affairs is willing to make some of the amendments that parliament demanded. A large part of the Tweede Kamer called the law as it currently stands "undemocratic", NOS reports.