Alexander Pechtold is resigning as leader of the parliamentary faction of the D66, he announced at the party congress in Den Bosch on Saturday. The party will choose a successor on Tuesday. It is "time for a new generation", Pechtold said n his farewell speech, NU.nl reports.
The VVD's proposal to punish law breakers in problem neighborhoods twice as harshly as someone from another neighborhood, led to sharp accusations during the first day of the General Political Considerations, the parliamentary debate on the government's budget and plans for next year, on Wednesday.
Those who live in problem areas and break the law must be punished twice as harshly as those from another neighborhood who commit the same crime, according to VVD leader Klaas Dijkhoff. In this way he wants to force problem neighborhoods on the right path, he said to newspaper AD.
Dijkhoff will expand on his plan during the General Considerations, the parliamentary debate on next year's budget, on Wednesday.
Klaas Dijkhoff, the leader of the parliamentary faction of ruling party VVD, announced in a critical open letter addressed to archbishop Wim Eijk that he is leaving the Roman Catholic church. "I choose for love and people instead of the restrictions and the church", Dijkhoff wrote, NOS reports.
The VVD's newest parliamentarian Thierry Aartsen, who will replace Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert in the Tweede Kamer on Thursday, is facing criticism about comments he made on Twitter in the past. Despite the controversy, Aartsen can count on the support of faction leader Klaas Dikjhof. As far as he is concerned, Aartsen is "most welcome" in the VVD parliamentary faction, NU.nl reports.
Minister Stef Blok of Foreign Affairs is facing the Tweede Kamer on Wednesday on statements he made about multicultural societies. He faced fierce criticism from the parliamentarians, including from coalition parties D66, CDA and ChristenUnie. Only populist parties PVV and FvD outright supported his remarks, NOS reports.
The Dutch government will re-examine whether it is possible to allow daycare centers to refuse children who haven't been vaccinated. A parliamentary majority, led by the three largest government parties, supports this, RTL Nieuws reports.
"Childcare must be a safe place. I understand the concerns about decreasing vaccination, that also affects childcare", State Secretary Tamara van Ark of Social Affairs said on Twitter. "That is why I want to investigate possibilities for organizations to refuse childcare for non-vaccinated children."
The last Peilingwijzer of the year shows that Geert Wilders and his anti-Islam PVV is facing increasing competition from new nationalist party FvD led by Thierry Baudet. The FvD leader was also named politician of the year by EenVandaag on Tuesday.
The VVD's integrity committee is launching an investigation into parliamentarian Wybren van Haga, who is accused of not following new rules on rental housing that Amsterdam implemented at the start of this year, a spokesperson for the party confirmed to NU.nl.
On Saturday Het Parool reported that Van Haga is violating Amsterdam's stricter rules on housing rental with several of his properties in the Dutch capital.
The Tweede Kamer is shocked and outraged by reports from Minister Kasja Ollongren of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations that Russia and other countries are using fake news to try and influence public opinion in the Netherlands. "That fake accounts influence our democracy is life threateningly dangerous", CDA leader Sybrand Buma said to broadcaster NOS. The CDA and D66 are presenting a set of measures in the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, on Wednesday to prevent this from happening.
There are indications that Dutch technology was used in weapons of mass destruction or missile programs of Iran, Pakistan and Syria, departing Ministers Lilianne Ploumen for Foreign Trade, Bert Koenders of Foreign Affairs and Klaas Dijkhoff of Defense wrote to the Tweede Kamer, ANP reports.
The Ministry of Defense is recalling anti-tank ammunition and smoke grenades from the UN mission in Mali. Inspections done following a damaging report by the Dutch Safety Board about an accidental mortar grenade explosion that killed two Dutch soldiers, showed that these two types of ammunition were also stored at too high temperatures and may not be safe.
Klaas Dijkhoff (VVD) will be the Minister of Defense for the final weeks of the departing government's reign. He is taking over from Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, who stepped down on Tuesday due to a mortar grenade accident in Mali that killed two Dutch soldiers last year. King Willem-Alexander swore Dijkhoff in on Wednesday morning, AD reports.
An Armenian mother was deported from the Netherlands on Monday without her children Howick (12) and Lily (11). The family lived in the Netherlands for nine years. According to children's rights organization Defense for Children, this is the first time ever that a mother was deported without her kids. "Horrible", the organization said, according to RTL Nieuws.
Over the first five moths of this year the Ministry of Security and Justice deported 480 migrants who were convicted of a crime. Among them were 60 Albanians, 60 Surinamese, 50 Algerians and 50 Moroccans, a spokesperson for the ministry confirmed to NU.nl after reports in AD.
The Ministry's figures show that the proportion of criminal migrants that were forced to leave the Netherlands increased every year since 2011. In that year 72 percent of this group were deported, now it is 80 percent.
The Netherlands is tightening the rules and regulations around early release and sentence interruption for foreign prisoners as of January 1st, State Secretary Klaas Dijkhoff of Security and Justice wrote to parliament on Tuesday, AD reports.
Dutch companies, government institutions and citizens are not responding fast enough against growing digital threats, according to National Coordinator for Counterterrorism and Security Dick Schoof. At home and at work Dutch people often opt for the fastest solution, instead of the most secure one. Which means that the gap between threats and security measures is getting larger instead of smaller, Schoof said in the Netherlands Cyber Security Image 2017, ANP reports.
Due to an error at the immigration and naturalization service IND, between 2 thousand and 3 thousand immigrants were mistakenly exempted from taking the integration exam, State Secretary Klaas Dijkhoff said in a letter to the Tweede Kamer on Thursday. Their residency permits were also upgraded from valid for a limited time, to valid for an unlimited time.
The mistake has to do with new rules that were implemented for exemption from the exam as of January 1st, 2015. The stricter rules were not applied to everyone who asked for exemption.
Popular designer drug 4-Fluoroamphetamine, also known as 4-FA and 4-FMP, will be banned in the Netherlands beginning Thursday. The party drug will be on the classified as "List I" under the country's drug laws, meaning it will be labeled as a hard drug.
The approach to fighting contraband in Dutch prisons is not effective enough, according to a report by the Inspectorate for Security and Justice. Prison staff don't have enough time and find it increasingly difficult to keep contraband like drugs and cellphones outside prison walls, the Inspectorate concludes, ANP reports.
The Inspectorate investigated seven prisons. The researchers concluded that prison staff are actively involved in counteracting contraband smuggling and there is no suggestion of a free trafficking market. But improvements are necessary.
A Polish driver convicted of killing a toddler and her grandparents in a hit-and-run accident in Meije, Limburg four years ago, was given early release so he could return to Poland to be there when his girlfriend gives birth. PVV, SP, CDA and VVD parliamentarians are outraged by the man's release. They call for the system for early release to be changed, NOS reports.
The Netherlands should immediately stop deporting asylum seeker families with young children to Afghanistan, according to UNICEF and Defense for Children in their annual report. According to the organizations, Afghanistan is becoming more dangerous by the day and the Netherlands is taking unacceptable risks by sending children back there, AD reports.
The municipality of Amsterdam calls on the Dutch government to admonish Russia about camps in Chechnya in which homosexual men are being locked up, alderman Eric van der Burg said at a protest against these camps at the gay monument in the Dutch capital on Wednesday. Amsterdam also wants State Secretary Klaas Dijkhoff of Security and Justice to change the asylum policy for Chechen LGBT men, ANP reports.
Over the past two years State Secretary Klaas Dijkhoff gave 240 failed asylum seekers a residency permit and refugee status in the Netherlands after personally considering their cases, the Telegraaf reports based on figures it obtained.