Members of parliament have shown broad support for Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s measures to stem the spread of the coronavirus, although some MPs assert that more ought to be done. This comes as the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch Parliament, convened on Tuesday to debate the government’s current efforts to tackle the ongoing crisis, and its path forward.
Politicians in The Hague were surprised by Bruno Bruins' resignation as Minister for Medical Care. Many complimented him on his hard work and wished him well and good recovery.
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.
The number of patients in the Netherlands who tested positive for coronavirus jumped from 38 confirmed cases on Wednesday to 82 on Thursday, Dutch health authority RIVM said on Thursday.
Schools in Arnhem sounded the alarm about an increasing number of school children smoking cannabis during school time. "In some classes, 50 to 60 percent of the students [smoke joints]", Eelco van der Kruk of the Thomas Kempis College in Arnhem said to the city council this week, speaking on behalf of multiple schools, Omroep Gelderland reports.
The D66 wants to temporarily bring migrants from African countries to work in the Netherlands. According to the coalition party, this can help fill shortages on the labor market. And if there is a legal route to follow, migrant workers can come to the Netherlands without risking their lives by crossing the Mediterranean Sea in the "floating coffins" of people smugglers, D66 parliamentarian Maarten Groothuizen proposed, AD and NOS report.
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.
All 26 Dutch members of the European Parliament will be voting for the Brexit on Wednesday evening. Some with complete conviction, others with pain in their hearts. "With reluctance", "we regret it", "it is inescapable", "inevitable", and "this is what the British want", is how the more reluctant Dutch MEPs explained their 'yes' vote to NOS.
A majority in the lower house of Dutch parliament is in favor of increasing the maximum penalty for manslaughter, as the chief executive at the Public Prosecution Service called for earlier this month. The parliamentarians agree that the gap between the 30 years maximum prison sentence for murder and the current 15 years for manslaughter must be decreased, RTL Nieuws reports.
The sale of Dutch energy company Eneco to Mitsubishi has stalled due to the Japanese company's history of forced labor during the Second World War. The 44 Dutch municipalities that own Eneco want the Mitsubishi Corporation to enter into dialogue with the Dutch people who were forced to work for them during the war, Trouw reports.
The VVD and CDA want to amend the Passport Act to make sure that people whose Dutch nationality was stripped because they joined a terrorist organization can not get a new passport from the Dutch government. "This is another step to prevent these people from returning to the Netherlands and making our country unsafe," VVD parliamentarian Dilan Yeşilgöz said, RTL Nieuws reports.
There are major doubts in parliament about D66 Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra's plans to reorganize the Tax Authority, including from the coalition parties themselves, was revealed during a debate about the Tax Authority with Hoekstra and Prime Minister Mark Rutte on Tuesday, NOS reports.
Hoekstra plans to split the Tax Authorities into three parts - Customs, Allowances, and Taxes. Each part will have its own official leadership, and two State Secretaries will be appointed to be politically responsible for the service. Who the two State Secretaries will be, is not yet known.
After chaos caused by farmers driving their tractors on highways during protests last year, a majority in the lower house of Dutch parliament pledged their support to a legislative proposal that will oblige farmers to put license plates on their tractors. The Netherlands is one of the last countries in Europe to regulate this, RTL Nieuws reports.
The government is investigating whether workers in dangerous jobs can be forced to take regular drug- and alcohol tests. Due to privacy rules, only a small professional group - drivers, pilots, train drivers, among others - can currently be tested on alcohol or drug use. But VVD State Secretary Tamara van Ark of Social Affairs wants to change the law so that companies have more options to act if they think employees are under the influence, AD reports.
A majority in the Amsterdam city council wants to implement a general ban on consumer fireworks in the city. The local faction of VVD announced its support on Wednesday. GroenLinks, PvdA, and PvdD previously announced their support. Together the four parties have 24 of the 45 seats in the city council, NU.nl reports.
The Amsterdam VVD said that it must "unfortunately" support a ban. "We are very disappointed by the misery [fireworks] cause. A small group of people are ruining it for the rest," the party said.
Rotterdam will be the first large Dutch city to completely ban consumer fireworks for the coming New Year. After the "umpteenth" incidents and violence this past New Year's, the VVD in Rotterdam decided to support the ban, which means that there is majority support in the city council to prohibit the lighting of consumer fireworks, NOS reports.
Lighting fireworks over New Year's is a tradition that needs to change, CDA Minister Hugo De Jonge of Public Health said on television program Jinek on RTL 4 on Monday. Earlier in the day it became clear that a majority in the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, now supports a partial ban on consumers' fireworks.
Support for a nationwide ban on firecrackers and rockets is growing within the political parties, including within the coalition. Coalition parties D66 and ChristenUnie called for such a ban. And two VVD mayors went against their party's position to call for such a ban, NOS reports.
Acting mayor Johan Remkes of The Hague argued for an "enforceable ban on firecrackers and rockets" for consumers on television program Buitenhof. And mayor Jan van Zanen of Utrecht asked the VVD to cooperate in a ban on all consumer fireworks.
In response to a drone attack by the United States on a Baghdad airport, killing an Iranian military leader, Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok said the events unfolding in Iraq are "worrying and serious." The attack happened weeks before the Dutch military was to send a frigate and helicopter to help patrol the Strait of Hormuz, which the U.S. requested months ago.
Like pornographic images and videos of children, "textual child pornography" like the so-called pedophile's handbook must also be prohibited in the Netherlands, according to ruling party VVD. According to the party, "it can not be explained to victims and their parents that textbooks that glorify sexual abuse of children are legal", AD reports.
The Netherlands needs tens of thousands of hectares more nature reserves to achieve European nature objectives, according to the Netherlands' environmental assessment agency PBL. Take measures to make nature more robust, so that more permits can be granted for construction and other projects, the PBL said in new advice to the government, AD reports.
The Tax Authority released the files of some parents whose childcare allowance was halted because they were unjustly suspected of fraud, at the parents' request because they wanted to know what led to these suspicions. But to the fury of a number of parliamentarians, large parts of the documents are completely blacked-out, according to a video SP parliamentarian Renske Leijten posted on Twitter.
Gay men must be able to donate blood if they have safe sex, according to the VVD, D66 and GroenLinks. The parties want blood bank Sanquin to lift the restrictions on gay men donating blood if they live a monogamous life. They asked Minister Bruno Bruins for Medical Care to investigate whether this is possible, the Telegraaf reports.
Currently blood bank Sanquin does not take blood from men who have had sex with a man in the past four months. This is because men who have sex with multiple male partners are at higher risk of being infected with HIV or hepatitis, for example.