When the leaders of the EU Member States could not agree on a 400 billion euros emergency fund to absorb the blows of the coronavirus, there was criticism from other EU countries that the Netherlands was thinking only of itself in blocking this fund. Prime Minister Mark Rutte denied this. "The idea that the Netherlands alone stands against the entire south is not true," he said to RTL Nieuws. "There is a fairly broad group against it and that was expressed quite firmly."
On Tuesday, Dutch airline KLM reported the first visible effects of the Covid-19 variant of coronavirus on its passenger numbers. “KLM had 2.7% fewer passengers on board this month compared to the same month last year,” the airline said in a statement about February passenger totals. “Passenger volumes decreased significantly by 23.7% on destinations in Asia.”
Dutch schools should cancel their exchange programs with China in the coming months due to the outbreak of the new coronavirus, Globi, an organization that helps with organizing exchange projects, advised on Wednesday. So far three people in the Netherlands have been tested for infection with coronavirus 2019-CoV, but all tests have come back negative, public health institute RIVM confirmed to NU.nl.
A package of urgent measures to reduce the level of nitrogen emissions and ground contamination was approved during a Tuesday night vote by senators in the Eerste Kamer, the upper house of Dutch parliament. The bill allows for tighter nitrogen regulations on construction projects, the reduction of nitrogen emissions from livestock, and the accelerated improvement and restoration of Natura 2000 nature sites.
Dutch European Commissioner Frans Timmermans is pushing to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent, and to achieve this by 2050, according to a 'Green Deal' he and European Commission chairman Ursula von der Leyen will present on Wednesday. The package of measures will overhaul the entire European legislation, the Volkskrant reported on Tuesday.
Energy company Eneco will be sold to a Japanese consortium of Mitsubishi and Chubu for 4.1 billion euros. That is significantly higher than the expected 3 billion to 4 billion euros, which is good news for the 44 municipalities who owned Eneco shares, De Telegraaf reports.
The majority of former Eneco owners are in Zuid-Holland and Friesland, though there were also a few municipalities from other provinces among them. Rotterdam is the big winner, getting 1.3 billion euros from the sale. Den Haag wins 678 million euros.
The Netherlands and eight other European countries are calling on the European Union to implement a tax on air travel. The governments of the nine countries signed a manifesto calling on the European Commission to come up with a proposal on this front, which will be handed to European Commissioner Frans Timmermans.
Today is Equal Pay Day in the European Union - the day when women symbolically stop getting paid compared to their male colleagues for the same job. The average gender wage gap in the EU is currently 16 percent, according to figures released by the European Commission. The Netherlands is in slightly better shape with a gender wage gap of 15.2 percent.
That means that Equal Pay Day in the Netherlands will fall on Wednesday, November 6th. From Wednesday, women effectively work for free through the end of the year in comparison to the wages of their male counterparts.
The tax agreements the Netherlands made with Starbucks are not equivalent to state aid, the European General Court ruled on Tuesday, annulling a previous ruling by the European Commission.
After two years of haggling between The Hague and Brussels, the European Commission approved the regulation that makes it possible to distribute flights between Schiphol and Lelystad Airport, NOS reports based on a draft decision in its possession. The proposal was submitted to all European Union Member States, and they agreed to it unanimously, according to the broadcaster.
Of all Dutch, 77 percent feel like they are citizens of the European Union, according to the European Commission's Euro-barometer. That puts the Netherlands about in the middle of the EU countries.
After days of long and intense meetings in Brussels, the European leaders reached an agreement. Dutch Frans Timmermans will not be the president of the European Commission. That position will go to German Minister of Defense Ursula von der Leyen. Instead Timmermans will likely stay on in his current position, vice-president of the European Commission, though the European Parliament still has to approve that, NOS and RTL Nieuws report.
Last week, U.S. Ambassador to the Netherlands, Pete Hoekstra, was named an honorary cheese Weighmaster by Gouda Mayor Mirjam Salet at the annual opening of the city's historic cheese market. "I’ll continue to promote the cheese to our American friends," he reportedly said.
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.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte criticized Brussels for being too lax as far as Italy is concerned. The European Commission must be harsher on Italy for violating budget agreements, Rutte said at an economic summit in Davos. The current state of affairs fosters mistrusts among citizens of other EU member states, including the Dutch, he said, NU.nl reports.
The British House of Commons voted against the Brexit deal British Prime Minister Theresa May negotiated with the European Union. With only two months to go until the United Kingdom leaves the European Union, time is running out to come to a good solution. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and other EU leaders are disappointed by the vote.
The vast majority of Dutch are for scrapping daylight savings time, according to a survey among over 1,800 Dutch ordered by Minister Kasja Ollongren of Home Affairs and Kingdom relations. 41 percent want to keep winter time all year, approximately a quarter want summer time to be the standard time, and another quarter want to stick to the current system of adjusting the clock twice a year, NOS reports.
European Commissioner Frans Timmermans wants to succeed Jean-Claude Juncker as president of the European Commission. He will officially announce his candidacy later this week, NOS reports.
The European Commission wants to get rid of daylight saving time in Europe as soon as possible. If Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker has his way, Europe will keep their clocks on summer time, as they are now. CDA parliamentarian Annie Schreier-Pierik, whose been fighting for scrapping the biannual time change for years, is happy that something is finally being done, RTL Nieuws reports.
People in the Netherlands are the most active of all Europeans. About 80 percent of Dutch people cycle, walk, garden or swim on a weekly basis, compared to the European average of 44 percent, according to the Euro Barometer - sports and physical activity by the European Commission, Trouw reports.
Also when it comes to playing sports, the Dutch scored well. 56 percent of Dutch play sports weekly, compared to the European average of 40 percent. Though Sweden, Denmark and Finland did better in this field.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte is not available to succeed Donald Tusk when his term as EU president ends next year, the Prime Minister said on Friday, NOS reports
On Friday morning Rutte's VVD colleague Frits Bolkestein said to the Volkskrant that Rutte would do well to succeed Tusk. According to the former European Commissioner, it is in the interests of the Netherlands for Rutte to accept this "crucial function" in the European Union. He also said that Rutte as "binding figure" has the capacity to fill this difficult role
On Monday an innovation deal was signed in Brussels that removes obstacles for storing energy in batteries. Companies in Utrecht's Lombok neighborhood have been working on this since 2015. The Urecht project is one of two innovation deals that the European Commission selected out of 32 proposals. "An important step", State Secretary Mona Keijzer of Economic Affairs and Climate said, ANP reports.
The European Parliament launched a thorough investigation into the appointment of German lawyer Martin Selmayr as Secretary General of the European Commission, which basically puts him in charge of 33 thousand EU officials. This follows a debate on the matter insisted on by, among others, Dutch European Parliamentarians, AD reports.
The parliamentary inquiry comes on top of an ongoing investigation by the European Ombudsman. The European Parliament will make a statement on the appointment next month, and it may even lead to a vote of no confidence.
New rules proposed by the European Commission could mean an end to the bonus cap for hundreds of Dutch investment firms, though the cap may still apply to companies large enough to be considered systematically important, such as banks and insurers, BNR reports.