ChristenUnie, the smallest party in the Rutte III coalition, seems to have the future of the CETA trade agreement between the European Union and Canada in its hands. If the party votes for, there is a small majority for the agreement. ChristenUnie voted against CETA in 2016, but now seems to be changing sides, was revealed in the debate on the trade agreement on Wednesday, NU.nl and RTL Nieuws report.
In response to a drone attack by the United States on a Baghdad airport, killing an Iranian military leader, Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok said the events unfolding in Iraq are "worrying and serious." The attack happened weeks before the Dutch military was to send a frigate and helicopter to help patrol the Strait of Hormuz, which the U.S. requested months ago.
On Saturday coalition party CDA announced that the party wants to extend the children's pardon, joining the D66 and ChristenUnie who have been calling for this for some time. The VVD is now the only one of the four coalition parties who wants to stick to the agreement made in the Rutte III coalition agreement, which states that the previous government's children's pardon will remain unchanged, the Volkskrant reports.
The government of Curacao released a statement distancing itself from statements Minister Stef Blok of Foreign Affairs made about multicultural societies. The island's government "deeply regrets" the statements, because as foreign minister Blok also speaks on behalf of the Caribbean part of the Kingdom. The Surinamese government would like Blok to apologize for his statements.
Government parties D66 and ChristenUnie are in talks with the Israeli ambassador and the representative of the Palestinian territories in the Netherlands about creating a direct connection between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank of the Jordan, NOS reports.
The two parties want Minister Stef Blok of Foreign Affairs to take the initiative in starting talks with Israel and the Palestinians about a corridor for buses and trucks, among other things. They believe that such a connection will lead to access to medical care, family reunification and trade for the people in Gaza.
In the future security guards on Dutch ships sailing through areas where piracy is prevalent may keep their own weapons and use them when necessary. A legislative proposal from VVD and CDA that regulates this has now won over a majority in the lower house of Dutch parliament after coalition party Christenunie signed on. The centrist Christian party joined after an amendment was introduced to maintain camera surveillance on board , according to newspaper AD which believes there is majority support in the upper house as well.
A majority in the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, approved two motions regarding the Armenian genocide of 1915 on Thursday. One states that the Tweede Kamer "recognizes the Armenian genocide", the other that a Dutch Minister or State Secretary should attend the commemoration of this genocide in Armenia in April. This decision is expected to further sour the relationship between Turkey and the Netherlands, ANP reports.
Both motions were submitted by ChristenUnie parliamentarian Joel Voordewind. All four coalition parties supported the motions.
Minister Halbe Zijlstra of Foreign Affairs admitting that he lied about having a meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin, was met by fierce criticism from opposition parties in the Tweede Kamer. The coalition parties call his actions mainly "unwise", NOS reports.
The question of whether or not to bring the children of Dutch rebel fighters in the Syrian civil war back to the Netherlands, has the government parties divided. Doing so was proposed by the D66 and ChristenUnie, but the VVD is vehemently against it. What fourth government party, the CDA, thinks about this, is not yet clear, NOS reports.
"Before you know it, the parents will come too", VVD parliamentarian Barbara Visser said on Twitter. "The VVD chooses for the safety and freedom of the children in the Netherlands!"
The Netherlands' center for information and documentation on Israel, CIDI, worries that an "explosion of violence" will result from the United States recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, director Hanna Luden said to NOS. Donald Trump is expected to officially announce later today that the United States is moving its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. ChristenUnie thinks the Netherlands should follow suit, parliamentarian Joel Voordewind said to BNR.
A large number of parliamentarians are hesitating over extending the UN mission in Mali. They are concerned over a lack of air support to the Dutch troops there as there will be no access to fighting helicopters between March 1st and May 1st, the Volkskrant reports.
Only days after Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Foreign Minister Bert Koenders' frantic diplomatic efforts to limit Turkish interference in Dutch society, the Turkish state news agency published a new so-called "Gulen list" on Tuesday. The list contains names of organizations in the Netherlands allegedly affiliated with Fethullah Gulen, which are to be boycotted because they are considered enemies of the Turkish State. Politicians in the Netherlands are furious.
PVV leader Geert Wilders plans to attend the Republican convention in the United States this summer to show his support for presidential candidate Donald Trump
ChristenUnie parliamentarian Joel Voordewind is calling for an end to the slow asylum procedure, that is leading to frustration, protests and even suicide in the emergency asylum shelters, AD reports.
An increasing number of asylum seekers are leaving the Netherlands voluntarily because they are discouraged by the Dutch asylum procedure, according the International Organization for Migration, the nongovernmental organizations that helps migrants with their voluntary return. "Under the current high influx of asylum seekers, there are many who choose for voluntary return relatively soon after arrival", a spokesperson said to the Volkskrant. "They get discouraged because it takes a long time to gain asylum and to have their family come over."
Thirty year old Iraqi asylum seeker Hussein Ali Abdel Amer hung himself in the asylum shelter in Alphen aan den Rijn on Saturday while talking on the phone with his wife, who is still in Iraq with his children. The long waiting time before getting clarity about his refugee status and his incapability to return to his family were too much for him
ChristenUnie parliamentary Joel Voordewind is calling on the government to push an extra 800 million euros into the budget for asylum seeker reception.
Hundreds of people gathered on the Spuiplein in The Hague on Saturday to commemorate the Armenian genocide which started almost 100 years ago.
2,741 (violent) incidents were recorded in Dutch asylum centers in the first 6 months of last year. These include 13 suicides, 80 suicide attempts, 124 intimidations and threats, 47 assaults, 58 missing people, 23 hunger strikes, 4 self-immolations and 10 suspicions of human trafficking. In the first half of 2014 there were about 12 thousand asylum seekers in Dutch centers, that number has doubled in the meantime.
Christian parties in the Tweede Kamer (lower house of parliament) are against Minister Bussemaker's (Education, Culture and Science) plan to deploy 160 advisers to help ethnic and religious groups in the acceptance of homosexuality, Trouw reports.
Today at the start of the general considerations, the annual debate on the Cabinet's plan for the next year, PVV leader Geert Wilders once again demanded that the Koran be removed from Chamber President Anouchka van Miltenburg's table. Wilders finds in inappropriate to have the Koran in the room now that the Islamic State is sowing terror. According to Wilders the holy Islamic book is a "declaration of war" and a "license to kill", BNR reports.
MP Joël Voordewind sadly noted at the appearance of the Christian persecution rankings by Open Doors, that in the past year the persecution of Christians has again increased worldwide.