Voter turnout was up substantially in the country's provincial election on Wednesday, compared with turnout in 2015. Some 57.9 percent of eligible voters showed up at polling places, up from 47.8 percent four years earlier, according to RTL Nieuws.
The ruling coalition that forms the Cabinet in The Netherlands was projected to lose seven seats and its majority in the Eerste Kamer, the upper house of Dutch parliament. Eerste Kamer relative newcomer Forum voor Democratie (FvD), a nationalist right wing party, was projected to secure ten seats in the Dutch Senate, and left wing GroenLinks was expected to take eight seats. There are 75 seats in the chamber, with the coalition currently holding 38 for a razor thin majority.
Employees of various sectors are striking for better pensions and to freeze the retirement age at 66 throughout the Netherlands on Monday. The first and most disrupting strike was in public transit between 6:00 a.m. and 7:06 a.m.
The vast majority of Dutch are worried about the disappearance of flowers, insects and birds in the countryside, according to the National Landscape Survey by nature conservation service Natuurmonumenten. The service calls on the government to make protecting the landscape a priority when making spatial plans, ANP reprots.
Almost a third of Dutch voters want to punish the Rutte III government for its policy during the Provincial States election on March 20th, according to the latest poll by research bureau I&O. A quarter of voters want to support the cabinet with his or her vote. And almost half said that they won't take into account whether or not the government coalition will get a majority in the Senate when they cast their vote, AD reports.
Aid organization Red Cross and peace organization PAX are calling on the Dutch government to sign the United Nations nuclear weapons ban, a treaty adopted by the UN in July 2017. The Netherlands then abstained from voting on the ban - all the countries with nuclear weapons and almost all NATO countries boycotted the vote, NOS reports.
While the majority of the opposition parties in parliament is pleased with the expansion of the children's pardon, the government parties still faced strong criticism during a parliamentary debate on the matter on Wednesday. Opposition parties are particularly dissatisfied about the decision to take in fewer recognized asylum seekers from the United Nations, NU.nl reports.
The four coalition parties reached a compromise on the children's pardon, a topic that caused conflict among the parties for the past two weeks. The rules will be relaxed for the "existing cases" of asylum children and their parents who are rooted in the Netherlands, like the CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie wanted.
The coalition parties' talks on relaxing the children's pardon seems to be at a stalemate. After two meetings with State Secretary Mark Harbers of Justice and Security on Monday, the parliamentary leaders of the VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie still have not come to a solution. CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie want the rules on the deportation of child asylum seekers to be broadened, the VVD is refusing, NOS reports.
GroenLinks leader Jesse Klaver is demanding that the coalition parties support his legislative proposal for a CO2 tax, in exchange for his party's support on new cabinet plans. "The question is not whether we will help the government to a majority, but whether the coalition will help our plans to a majority", he said at a meetup in The Hague on Monday evening, NOS reports.
The deportation of an Armenian family, including three kids aged 8, 5 and 3 years, will happen as scheduled on Monday, despite political talks about easing the children's pardon for asylum kids who are rooted in the Netherlands. Emergency procedures to keep the family in the Netherlands were all rejected, the family's lawyer confirmed to RTL Nieuws.
Children's Ombudsman Margrite Kalverboer is urgently calling on the government to bring Dutch children still in Syria back to the Netherlands. "There has been talk for almost a year, but not much has happened. The children are a year older and live under poor conditions. That is bad for their development", she said in a letter to Minister Ferdinand Grapperhaus of Justice and Security, RTL Nieuws reports.
The Dutch government wants to implement a flight tax of 7 euros per plane ticket, regardless of the destination. The government previously considered a tax of 3.80 euros for flights within Europe and 22 euros for intercontinental flights, but opted for a fixed amount to make the Tax Authority's job easier, sources in The Hague confirmed to NU.nl after reports in RTL Nieuws.
The Dutch government is planning to launch a campaign against fake news in the run-up to the elections for the Provincial State and European Parliament. In a letter to parliament, Minister Kasja Ollongren of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations said that the government wants to make citizens more aware of misinformation around the elections, NOS report.
The Rutte III government has too little regard for the thousands of vulnerable people in the Netherlands who do not receive the care that they need, the National Ombudsman, the Netherlands Court of Auditors and social and cultural planning office SCP said in a joint statement on Wednesday. The Tweede Kamer, lower house of Dutch parliament, is discussing the healthcare budget on Wednesday afternoon, NU.nl reports.
The new plans of the Rutte III government now that dividend tax will not be abolished, can not count on the support of the opposition parties, was revealed during a parliamentary debate on Tuesday evening. The opposition parties were all clearly irritated, NU.nl reports.
Despite economic setbacks that threaten from the Brexit and United States president Donald Trump's trade wars, this is a logical time to give "something back" to the Dutch, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said about the budget and the government's plans for next year, NU.nl reports.
The Dutch government supported Jabhat al-Shamiya, an armed group in Syria that the Public Prosecutor labeled terrorist, according to research by Nieuwsuur and Trouw. A Dutch man is currently being prosecuted for participating in this group. The indictment states that Jabhat al-Shamiya is "salafist and jihadist", "strives for the establishment of a caliphate", and "can't be otherwise qualified" than as a "criminal organization with terrorist intent", Nieuwsuur reports.
The Dutch government wants to increase the interest on student loans as of 2020, according to a legislative proposal sent to the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, last week. The measure must bring 226 million euros into the treasury, and is intended to keep the loan system affordable, ANP reports.
The government is structurally allocating an extra 100 million euros for making social rental homes more sustainable. Housing corporations will receive this amount annually starting next year, sources around the cabinet told RTL Nieuws.
The extra investment will officially be announced on Budget Day, on September 20th, according to the broadcaster. In the coalition agreement the government already promised housing corporations 100 million euros structurally to make their homes more sustainable.
The government parties VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie reached an agreement on the budget for 2019 and agreements were made about how dividend tax will be abolished, the parties said after a final meeting on Thursday evening. The parties would give no details about their agreements. That will be presented on Budget Day, the third Thursday in September, NOS reports.
Relatives of unsolved murders in the Netherlands started a petition calling on the government to hire more detectives so that the police can pay more attention to these cold cases. The petition asks the government for a "stronger and more convincing approach" to cold cases and "more well-equipped police teams", NOS reports.
The Netherlands counts around a thousand murder cases that haven't been solved. There are also around 800 other serious violent crimes in which no arrests were made.
American companies are investing less and less in the Netherlands. This is mainly due to tax reforms in the United States - president Donald Trump reduced corporation tax significantly, making it more attractive for American companies to invest in their own country. But the Rutte III government's planned crackdown on shell companies may also play a role, NOS reports.
The government does not have to withdraw its new law on the Dutch intelligence and security services in its current form, the court ruled on Tuesday in summary proceedings filed by a group of privacy organizations and companies, NU.nl reports.