Not informing the Tweede Kamer about the government purchasing shares in Air France-KLM was a "judgment call", Minister Wopke Hoekstra of Finance said in a debate on the matter on Tuesday. He considered all variants of parliamentary involvement in the purchase. "Considering all the pluses and minuses, this was the most ideal, but an ideal outcome does not exist", he said, NOS reports.
It seems that the Netherlands and France are on good terms again, after the Dutch state unexpectedly bought a large interest in Air France-KLM this week. During a joint press conference, Dutch Minister Wopke Hoekstra of Finance and French Minister Bruno Le Maire of Economic Affairs stressed their common interest in making Air France-KLM "the best aviation company in the world", NOS reports.
French president Emmanuel Macron wants clarity from the Dutch government about its strategy with regard to Air France-KLM. Now that the Dutch state bought a considerable interest in the airline combination, it is important for the Netherlands to make its intentions clear, Macron said, AD reports.
The Dutch State bought 12.68 percent shares in Air France-KLM, worth 680 million euros, Minister Wopke Hoekstra of Finance announced at a press conference on Tuesday evening. The French government did not know about this move in advance, according to French Minister of Economic Affairs Bruno Le Maire, NU.nl reports.
Pieter Elbers will be allowed to stay on as CEO of Dutch airline KLM, the board of Air France-KLM decided. The Dutch man's term as CEO comes to an end in April, but the intention now is that it will be extended. The shareholders still have to formally approve Elbers' reappointment at the annual meeting in April, NOS reports.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte criticized Brussels for being too lax as far as Italy is concerned. The European Commission must be harsher on Italy for violating budget agreements, Rutte said at an economic summit in Davos. The current state of affairs fosters mistrusts among citizens of other EU member states, including the Dutch, he said, NU.nl reports.
Minister Wopke Hoekstra of Finance canceled his planned visit to an investor conference in Saudi Arabia next week, following the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi after he visited the Saudi consulate in Turkey. The consultancy firm that organized Hoekstra trip confirmed that the Minister is no longer going, ANP reports.
Surveillance camera footage show Khashoggi entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 3rd. There is no footage of him leaving again and he hasn't been seen since. There is still much confusion about what happened to him.
Minister Wopke Hoekstra of Finance will skip te autumn meeting of the International Monetary Fund in Bali this year, so that he can be available for consultations on the possible abolition of dividend tax, his spokesperson said, ANP reports.
Multiple banks under the supervision of Dutch central bank DNB are too lax when it comes to countering money laundering, according to the regulator. Minister Wopke Hoekstra of Finance asked the DNB to look into this after ING was slapped with a massive settlement for this same reason. He informed parliament about the results of the DNB investigation on Tuesday, ANP reports.
"The foundations of our prosperity are strong, but they are no guarantee for future economic prosperity", is the message Minister Wopke Hoekstra of Finance will give at the presentation of the first Budget Memorandum of the Rutte III government on Tuesday, NOS reports.
According to Hoekstra, the government wants the Dutch people to feel that things are going well with the economy. At the same time he warns against economic headwinds that may be caused by the Brexit and trade disputes started by US president Donald Trump.
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.
Halbe Zijlstra is no longer in the running for a job as administrator at the World Bank. The former VVD Minister says that he decided to say no thank you to the job on Monday, the Telegraaf reports.
Zijlstra was a candidate to replace Frank Heemskerk (PvdA) at the bank in Washington. Heemskerk is stepping down this summer.
Last year the Netherlands' national debt decreased by 18 billion euros, from 434 billion euros to 416 billion euros, according to the central government's annual report that was released on Wednesday. That comes down to 56.7 percent of the Netherlands gross domestic product.
With that the Netherlands closed a year with a national debt that complies with European rules for the first time since the outbreak of the financial crisis. According to European rules, a country's national debt must remain below 60 percent of GDP.
The people living around six Dutch airports joined forces to fight against what they consider the undesirable growth of aviation in the Netherlands. On Tuesday they established a national residents' council on aviation called LBBL, ANP reports.
In April airline Air France-KLM transported fewer passengers than in the same month last year, due to strikes at Air France. The French-Dutch airline transported 6.9 million passengers in April, 2.5 percent less than the over 7 million passengers transported in April 2017, RTL Nieuws reports.
At KLM the number of passengers increased by over 5 percent. But that was not enough to compensate for the nearly 9 percent decrease at Air France.
The Dutch government will not take any concrete measures to help Air France-KLM cope with the unrest on the French side of the airline, Minister Wopke Hoekstra of Finance and Deputy Prime Minister Hugo de Jonge both said, in different words, on Wednesday, NU.nl reports.
ING decided to withdraw a proposed salary increase for CEO Ralph Hamers due to mass criticism from society and politicians. "We realize that we underestimated the public response in the Netherlands to this clearly sensitive issue", chairman of the supervisory board Jeroen van der Veer said in a statement on Tuesday, ANP reports.
Former PvdA State Secretary Dick Benschop will be the new CEO of Royal Schiphol Group, the board of the airport confirmed in a press release on Monday. He will succeed Jos Nijhuis on May 1st, ANP reports.
Benschop, 60, currently works at Royal Dutch Shell. Between 1998 and 2002 he was State Secretary of Foreign Affairs in the Kok II government.
Departing Schiphol CEO Jos Nijhuis is facing a storm of criticism from politicians after he said that his successor will be a man, otherwise Schiphol's board will have more women than men.
Banning cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin is unfeasible, but the Dutch government wants to regulate the trade in cryptocurrency internationally to address the improper use of these digital coins, Minister Wopke Hoekstra of Finance wrote in a letter to parliament, NU.nl reports.
Hoekstra wants to bring cryptocurrencies into an "appropriate regulatory framework" without jeopardizing the technology's potential. He wants to make sure that the conversion of cryptocurrencies into regular money does not happen under the radar, for example.
ING Bank raised the salary of CEO Ralph Hamers by more than half this year, to over 3 million euros, NOS reports. Parliamentarians are furious and demand an explanation. Minister Wopke Hoekstra of Finance is "not amused", according to newspaper AD.
New rules proposed by the European Commission could mean an end to the bonus cap for hundreds of Dutch investment firms, though the cap may still apply to companies large enough to be considered systematically important, such as banks and insurers, BNR reports.
Minister Wopke Hoekstra of Financie is looking into whether banning certain cryptocurrency exchanges is desirable and possible. He hopes to give the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, information about this in the next few weeks, AD reports.
According to Hoekstra, the government would like to ban bitcoin derived products such as binary options - where people basically gamble on whether an asset like Bitcoin will rise to a specific price, or fall below a certain amount. But he added that this must first be properly investigated.
Minister Wopke Hoekstra of Finance is looking forward to seeing what his French and German colleagues come up with in regards to cryptocurrency regulations. The French and German Finance Ministers plan to present their proposal at the G20 summit in March, RTL Z reports.
Hoekstra said that "once it is there" he will study the proposed regulations "with attention" and then "see what we will do in the Netherlands", according to the broadcaster.