In the run-up to the European Parliament elections next week, Prime Minister Mark Rutte is talking about his vision for Europe. According to the VVD leader, his ideas about that have shifted. "Europe is market and currency, but a point has been added", he said to Nieuwsuur on Wednesday night. That point is safety. Without the European Union, the Netherlands is just a small country on its own in a big and increasingly volatile world.
From next year, identity checks will be mandatory on all flights within the Schengen area, Minister Stef Blok of Security and Justice said, according to BNR. Earlier this week, the broadcaster reported that at least 10 airlines don't do ID checks when passenger check-in on a flight within the Schengen area, making it easy for criminals and terrorists to fly around Europe anonymously.
If the European Union falls apart, the Netherlands would face severe consequences, according to Rabobank. The Dutch economy will shrink by 10 to 15 percent, unemployment will double and welfare will remain structurally lower than when the Netherlands was part of the internal market. Should the EU stay together, but the Netherlands decides to step out, the consequences would be even more disastrous, the bank predicts, RTL Nieuws reports.
The Dutch government is having discussions with Belgium, Germany and France about implementing a registry for people traveling on international buses, trains and boats, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Security and Justice said to the Volkskrant. This follows terror Anis Amri suspect fleeing through the Netherlands unchecked after he drove a truck into a Christmas market in Berlin on December 19th. The ultimate goal is to implement the registry for the entire EU, according to the newspaper.
The tighter border controls in Europe as a result of the refugee crisis, is bad for the economy. By 2020 this will cost the Netherlands 9 billion euros, equal to a 1.3 percent fall of gross domestic product, according to calculations by the Central Planning Bureau
German police agents at controls seem to be sending buses full of asylum seekers, who first traveled through the Netherlands, back to the border. Achim Halkour of the Bundespolizei in Sankt Augustin, who coordinates the border control on the Dutch-German border, says "Then we ask directly in your country to take over these people", Elsevier reports.
A proposal by the PVV to hold a vote of confidence on Security and Justice Secretary Fred Teeven was slapped down by Members of Parliament in the Tweede Kamer.
U.S. President Barack Obama will meet with Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte in Amsterdam later this month. The U.S. head of state will visit the Dutch capital before attending the Nuclear Security Summit in the Hague.
Authorities suspect a 32-year-old German man in custody at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam is an escaped convict. The man was stopped by border agents when he presented a Jordanian passport without a visa for the Schengen area.