At least one Dutch woman was among the hundreds of people killed in a seemingly coordinated set of attacks on Easter Sunday in and around Colombo, Sri Lanka, and several other cities in the South Asian island nation. The 54-year-old woman died in a blast triggered by a suicide bomber at the five-star Cinnamon Grand Hotel in a central, popular part of Colombo.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte expressed his support to French president Emmanuel Macron after a devastating fire in the Notre-Dame in Paris. "Paris and France were hit hard by a scorching fire in Notre-Dame, one of the most iconic buildings on our continent. This destructive fire is felt throughout Europe. Just wished Emmanuel Macron a lot of strength with this enormous catastrophe", the Dutch Prime Minister said on Twitter.
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.
"Unacceptable", Prime Minister Mark Rutte said about threats made against FvD leader Thierry Baudet after the nationalist party's major win in the Provincial States elections last week. All politicians must be able to perform their duties in safety and freedom, Rutte said to the Telegraaf. "Democracy is not easy, but it is a valuable possession.
FvD leader Thierry Baudet believes that his party's victory in the Provincial States election is punishment for the "arrogance and stupidity" of the Netherlands' current leaders. In his victory speech he emphasized that FvD is now one of the largest parties in the country, and that a change has been set in motion. "Economic and political capitulation is coming to an end", he said, NOS reports.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte had a blackout during the last election debate before the Provincial States election on NOS on Tuesday. While debating with PvdA leader Lodewijk Asscher, the Prime Minister could not remember an example he wanted to give. "What was the second example? ... Caroliene, help, I lost it", he said, smiling towards the audience. After the debate Rutte asked the media not to make a big deal out of this, but by then the name 'Caroliene', and various spellings thereof, was already trending on Twitter.
On Tuesday evening the 13 political party leaders responded to the shooting in Utrecht, in which three people were killed and three seriously injured, at the start of the last political debate before the Provincial States elections on Wednesday. PVV leader Geert Wilders and FvD leader Thierry Baudet decided to use their moment to blame the attack on Prime Minister Mark Rutte (VVD) and CDA leader Sybrand Buma, linking the shooting to the Netherlands' immigration and integration policy, NOS reports.
The Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, held a moment of silence on Tuesday afternoon to commemorate the three victims killed in a shooting on 24 Oktoberplein in Utrecht on Monday. The President of the Tweede Kamer, Khadija Arib, opened Tuesday's weekly question and answer session speaking in honor of the victims in Utrecht and also the fifty people killed in a shooting at a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte received a "stare down" lesson from kickboxer Rico Verhoven after the two were both guests on television program WNL op Zondag. During the broadcast the Prime Minister said that he always wanted to take a kickboxing lesson. "I see talent", Verhoeven said afterwards.
In kickboxing the two fighters look each other in the eye for a long time before the match. This is called a stare down. Verhoeven shared a photo of the moment on Instagram. "Told our prime minister Rutte to tell all politicians to start every debate with a stare down from now on", he wrote.
Flags across The Netherlands will be lowered, and will fly at half-staff on Tuesday, said Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte at a press conference on Monday evening. The move is in response to a mass shooting that left three people dead, and at least five others injured in Utrecht.
"Our country was startled today by an attack in Utrecht," Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said at the beginning of a hastily arranged press conference on Monday afternoon. He was addressing journalists following a shooting inside a tram on the 24 Oktoberplein in Utrecht on Monday morning.
"Now it is certain that the passengers on a tram were shot. There were injuries and possibly fatalities," he said. "Our thoughts are with the victims whose lives have been turned upside down."
Prime Minister Mark Rutte is very worried by a possible terrorist attack in Utrecht on Monday morning. "Very disturbing news', he said to NOS as he was heading back to his office to meet with a crisis team that has been gathered. The national coordinator for counter terrorism and security NCTV increased the threat level for the province of Utrecht to 5, the highest threat level, until at least 6:00 p.m.
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.
Thousands of school pupils gathered in Amsterdam on Thursday afternoon to protest for a better climate policy. They marched from Dam Square to the Museumplein, carrying signs with texts like ‘Make the earth cool again’. According to the police, around 6 thousand people were present, NOS reports.
The turnout was lower than for the first march in The Hague in February, when around 10 thousand pupils participated.
The Dutch government wants to reduce the energy costs for citizens and let the industry pay more for the Netherlands' climate plans, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said in a response to the Netherlands' environmental assessment agency PBL and central planning office CPB's calculations of the climate agreement. This will involve less energy taxes on citizens, and a CO2 tax on companies, 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 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.
The Dutch State bought 12.68 percent shares in Air France-KLM, worth 680 million euros, Minister Wopke Hoekstra of Finance announced at a press conference on Tuesday evening. The French government did not know about this move in advance, according to French Minister of Economic Affairs Bruno Le Maire, NU.nl reports.
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.