Labor party PvdA will only support the new coronavirus emergency support package for businesses if the government keeps the so-called dismissal fine in tact. Instead, hard-hit businesses can receive extra support in other ways, PvdA leader Lodewijk Asscher will propose in a parliamentary debate on the second coronavirus support package on Thursday, a spokesperson for the party said to the Telegraaf.
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.
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.
Various politicians and other prominent Dutch praised King Willem-Alexander and the speech he gave on Dam Square in Amsterdam for Remembrance Day on Monday - the first time a Dutch head of state spoke on Remembrance Day. Many were particularly impressed by how the King criticized his great-grandmother Wilhelmina for how she left WWII victims feeling abandoned, unheard and unsupported. The Full text of the King's speech can be found at the bottom of this article.
Parties from both in and outside of the ruling coalition have called on the cabinet to take action to protect the financial wellbeing of sex workers in the Netherlands, following the economic fallout caused by the Covid-19 outbreak.
"Despite repeated requests, action has so far failed to materialize," the CDA, ChristenUnie and opposition party PvdA affirmed in a statement. All the while, they claim, many sex workers "do not even have money for food."
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.
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.
The government wants to track and curb the spread of coronavirus Covid-19 using special apps to trace who was in contact with a confirmed patient. Parliamentarians from coalition party D66 and opposition party PvdA worry about what this will mean for citizens' privacy.
Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra received support from a majority in parliament for the government's stance on European Union aid for countries in trouble due to the coronavirus. The Dutch government is against so-called coronabonds, and wants strict requirements attached to any emergency financing, NOS reports.
Later in the evening, reports emerged that the European Stabilization Mechanism (ESM) could instead be used to make a quarter of a trillion euros available to help countries in the EU pay for the medical problems caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
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.
Martin van Rijn from opposition party PvdA was appointed to take over as Minister for Medical Care, Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced on Friday, NOS reports.
Van Rijn, who was a State Secretary of Public Health in the previous Rutte government, will take over from Bruno Bruins. He resigned on Thursday after collapsing from exhaustion during a parliamentary debate on Wednesday.
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.
NS offered apologies after a conductor played a football song about Jews on an intercity train between Tilburg in Rotterdam on Saturday evening. "Let it be clear: we find this completely inappropriate," the rail company said on Sunday after being alerted to the situation by a traveler, NOS reports.
The song was "Waar komen Joden toch vandaan", which translates to "Where do Jews come from". The song is regularly sung in the Johan Cruijff Arena in Amsterdam by Ajax supporters who use "Jews" as a nickname.
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.
The PvdA is threatening to withdraw its support from the pension agreement, which was finally reached in June last year after a decade of negotiations. According to the labor party, the coalition is not sticking to its promise to make money available so that people with physically taxing jobs can retire earlier, RTL Z reports.
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.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs ignored signals and reports that there were many problems with Centrum Veilig Wonen (CVW) - the company responsible for reinforcing homes in Groningen against fracking earthquakes - for years. The then National Coordinator for Groningen Hans Alders warned the Ministry that the company was not complying with agreements, and that Groningen residents were the victims of this, in the summer of 2017.