After over 200 days of government formation talks, the Rutte III cabinet's government agreement is as good as done. The VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie reached agreements on the last major issues and the agreement is expected to be presented next week. The new government plans to invest more in education, defense, police and sustainability, the Volkskrant reported on Wednesday night.
Terminally ill former Amsterdam mayor Eberhard van der Laan had visits from King Willem-Alexander, Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Deputy Prime Minister Lodewijk Asscher last week, Het Parool reports. No details were revealed about these visits, because they were private visits, according to the newspaper.
Defense Minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert (VVD) resigned on Tuesday evening, after hours of debate in the Tweede Kamer about the Dutch Safety Board's report on the deaths of two Dutch soldiers deployed to a UN mission in Mali last year. Henry Hoving and Kevin Roggeveld were killed when a mortar grenade exploded while still in the firing tube during training.
The Rutte III cabinet will have 16 Ministers and 9 State Secretaries, bringing the total up to 25, sources told newspaper AD. This is quite the turnaround for Prime Minister and VVD leader Mark Rutte, who with his past to cabinets repeatedly spoke about a "smaller and powerful government".
Angela Merkel's Christian democratic party CDU got the most votes in the Bundestag elections. Though the German government parties suffered substantial losses, with right-wing populist party AfD gaining significant ground. Prime Minister Mark Rutte called Merkel to congratulate her, he said on Facebook.
The Netherlands strives for a strong United Nations in a world that is safe and sustainable, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said in his speech at the UN General Assembly in New York on Wednesday. As a temporary member of the UN Security Council, the Netherlands will dedicate itself to those goals next year, the Dutch Prime Minister said, according to RTL Nieuws.
Rutte considers a strong UN essential. He advocated for the reforms and adjustments UN leader Antonio Guterres is working on. The Netherlands wants better cooperation between UN agencies, he said.
Tata Steel, the parent company of the steel plant in IJmuiden, and the German ThyssenKrupp are merging their European Steelworks. The two companies expect that the merge will result in the loss of 4 thousand jobs throughout Europe, they said in a joint statement, AD reports.
Half of the jobs will be lost in the production branch and the other half in the administrative branch. The job losses will be distributed evenly across the two companies. The consequences for jobs in the IJmuiden plant, were not specified.
As the time for the Rutte II cabinet to hand over to a new government approaches, the confidence the Dutch public has in the departing government increases. The VVD and PvdA government hasn't enjoyed as much confidence from the voters since its inauguration in 2012, according to EenVandaag's Budget Day poll. The same goes for Prime Minister Mark Rutte.
Shocked and sad reactions met Amsterdam mayor Eberhard van der Laan's announcement that he is stepping down due to his metastasized lung cancer. Van der Laan (PvdA) announced on Monday afternoon that he is resigning, based on the advice of his doctors. One Amsterdam city council member described the news as "a punch to the face", RTL Nieuws reports.
At 6:00 a.m. on Friday morning Minister Ronald Plasterk of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations officially launched the national fundraising action for Sint Maarten, Saba and Eustatius, who were all hit by devastating Hurricane Irma last week. The action "The Netherlands helps Sint Maarten" is a collaboration between the Red Cross and Dutch broadcasters RTL, NPO and SBS.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has mixed feelings about European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker's plans for the European Union, which he revealed in the annual State of the Union address on Wednesday. "I like the short term ideas", Rutte said about the speech. "But there are also issues I like less", AD and the Telegraaf report.
Sint Maarten can count on a financial contribution from the Netherlands to help it recover from the devastating effects of Hurricane Irma, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Tuesday evening, according to Metro Nieuws. He did not mention any amounts.
King Willem-Alexander will visit Sint Maarten, Sint Eustatius and Saba on Monday to see the aftermath of Hurricane Irma with his own eyes, Minister Ronald Plasterk of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations said on Curacao on Sunday afternoon, ANP reports.
The Kingdom of the Netherlands was hit hard by Hurricane Irma, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said in a press conference after a crisis meeting about emergency relief for the islands of Sint Maarten, Saba and Sint Eustatius on Thursday morning, NU.nl reports. The government is very concerned about Hurricane Jose, which may hit the Dutch islands on Saturday.
The Dutch Ministers involved in providing aid to the islands affected by Hurricane Irma on Wednesday, are meeting in the National Crisis Center in The Hague at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday morning. The main purpose of this meeting is to map what aid exactly the islands of Sint Maarten, Saba and Sint Eustatius need, Minister Ronald Plasterk of Home Affairs and Kingdom relations said to broadcaster NOS.
Months long talks between the unions and employers about new rules for flexible work and dismissal law, failed. No agreement could be reached. This means that the parties on the government formation table - the VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie - will have to come up with reforms themselves, possibly without the support of the employers and employees, which could cause delays in the government formation, AD reports.
Whether the Dutch national football team will be able to qualify for the World Cup in Russia next year, is a question that's on the mind of every sports lover in the Netherlands today, including the government. Almost all Dutch Ministers watched Oranje lose 4-0 against France in the qualifier on Thursday, according to broadcaster NOS.
The VVD and PvdA managed to come to an agreement on increasing teachers' salaries in next year's budget, PvdA leader Lodewijk Asscher announced on Wednesday night. The two parties agreed that a "substantial amount" will go towards teachers in the 2018 budget. With that a government crisis was averted, and the departing VVD-PvdA coalition lives to see another day, AD reports.
The current government plans to make more money available for teacher salaries, primary school education and Defense in a compromise to solve a conflict about teacher salaries between the VVD and PvdA, Prime Minister and VVD leader Mark Rutte confirmed. Though he stressed that there is no deal yet, NU.nl reports.
The negotiations on forming a new Dutch government will happen outside The Hague on Thursday and Friday. The VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie will be meeting on De Zwaluwenberg in Hilversum, the workplace of the Inspector General of the Armed Forces, for those two days, NOS reports.
The Rutte II cabinet is now officially the longest serving Dutch government since the Second World War. On Sunday the VVD-PvdA coalition served a total of 1,749 days - one day more than the previous record holder, the Lubbers III cabinet, NOS reports.
The terrorist attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils on Thursday and Friday emphasize the need to hurry with the government formation, VVD leader Halbe Zijlstra said at the start of the formation talks on Friday morning. "A country without a government is really something you should not have for too long, certainly not in this time", he said to newspaper AD.
Zijlstra called the attacks terrible.
The PVV wants the Tweede Kamer to cut its summer recess short and return for a parliamentary debate on the terrorist attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils, PVV leader Geert Wilders said in a message to the other party leaders, which he also posted on Twitter.