Trade unions are furious about the government's decision to scrap the so-called dismissal fine from the coronavirus aid package for businesses, warning that this will lead to mass layoffs. According to Prime Minister Mark Rutte, the cabinet is still discussing this matter with the unions. The scrapping of this fine is not set in stone, but at the same time it is "important that the dismissal fine does not continue in this form," Rutte said in a parliamentary debate on the coronavirus on Wednesday, the Telegraaf reports.
Recent decisions by the Dutch cabinet, including the mandatory use of face masks on public transport and Wednesday's new economic support package, were met with sharp criticism as MPs offered their feedback in a parliamentary debate on Wednesday afternoon.
Covid-19 restrictions may remain in place in the city of Amsterdam even after other parts of the Netherlands move closer to a full reopening, the city's mayor Femke Halsema said on Tuesday. This would be done with an eye toward preventing a rapid resurgence in Covid-19 infections in the city, which carries greater risks due to its urban density, she said.
"I’m sorry if I am putting a damper on the atmosphere, but we must realize how vulnerable we are," Halsema told the city council in a mixed in-person and video meeting on Tuesday afternoon, according to local broadcaster AT5.
Companies whose business is organized in international tax havens are entitled to claim Covid-19 support money from the Dutch government. According to sources which spoke to public broadcaster NOS on Thursday, a proposal to exclude companies from receiving government aid had been put forward by trade union FNV and left-wing opposition party GroenLinks.
Dutch parliamentarians want a number of additional conditions attached to a coronavirus aid package for KLM. Groenlinks wants the airlines' financial partners to help pay for the aid package. Various parties want high-earning pilots to accept salary cuts. And a majority agrees that KLM should not pay any bonuses or dividends as long as it is dependent on state aid.
The lower house of Dutch parliament debated the current state of affairs around the coronavirus with the cabinet on Wednesday. Parliamentarians wanted to know whether more businesses can be opened before the extended "intelligent lockdown" date of May 20th, and called for more than medical experts to be on the government's Outbreak Management Team, NOS and NU.nl report.
If the government comes up with a new aid package to help companies affected by the coronavirus crisis, stricter conditions much be attached to that aid, according to GroenLinks and the PvdA. Among other things, aid should not go to companies that still pay bonuses to their top, and companies should meet sustainability requirements, the party leaders said on television on Monday evening.
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.
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.
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 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.
Members of parliament have shown broad support for Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s measures to stem the spread of the coronavirus, although some MPs assert that more ought to be done. This comes as the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch Parliament, convened on Tuesday to debate the government’s current efforts to tackle the ongoing crisis, and its path forward.
Several parties in the lower house of Dutch parliament are in favor of forcing pharmaceutical company Roche to release the manufacturing process and recipe of the coronavirus test they make, if this is necessary. This would make it possible for tests to be produced in the Netherlands, NOS reports.
Politicians in The Hague were surprised by Bruno Bruins' resignation as Minister for Medical Care. Many complimented him on his hard work and wished him well and good recovery.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte could count on praise from both opposition and coalition parties for his address to the nation on Monday. In his speech, the Prime Minister warned that coronavirus Covid-19 will be in the Netherlands for some time, and called on Netherlands residents to face this difficult time together.
Parliamentarians from both coalition and opposition parties are worried about the government's decision to keep schools open for the time being.
A planned new subway line between Amsterdam and Almere should be extended so that it runs from Amsterdam West to Haarlem, the GroenLinks and PvdA district councilors in Amsterdam Oost and Nieuw West said in a letter published in Het Parool.
A majority in the lower house of Dutch parliament wants gas stations and supermarkets to stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products by next year. According to the CDA and ChristenUnie motion, tobacco products should only be available in specialist shops, AD reports.
The parties want the government to make agreements with supermarkets and gas stations on this matter. If these stores do not stick to the agreements, the government should force them with a legal obligation. This plan is supported by the CDA, ChristenUnie, D66, SP, GroenLinks, PvdA, 50Plus, PvdD, and SGP.
An online petition against Asian people being discriminated against in the Netherlands due to the outbreak of the coronavirus has been signed over 25 thousand times, including over 20 thousand signatures from people in the Netherlands. The petition, titled 'We are not viruses!' was placed online on Saturday.
There are major doubts in parliament about D66 Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra's plans to reorganize the Tax Authority, including from the coalition parties themselves, was revealed during a debate about the Tax Authority with Hoekstra and Prime Minister Mark Rutte on Tuesday, NOS reports.
Hoekstra plans to split the Tax Authorities into three parts - Customs, Allowances, and Taxes. Each part will have its own official leadership, and two State Secretaries will be appointed to be politically responsible for the service. Who the two State Secretaries will be, is not yet known.
After chaos caused by farmers driving their tractors on highways during protests last year, a majority in the lower house of Dutch parliament pledged their support to a legislative proposal that will oblige farmers to put license plates on their tractors. The Netherlands is one of the last countries in Europe to regulate this, RTL Nieuws reports.