Dutch foreign minister talks to Turkey after racism claim row

Dutch foreign minister talks to Turkey after racism claim row

Dutch foreign minister Bert Koenders had a 30 minute phone conversation with his Turkish counterpart about claims that the Netherlands discriminates against Dutch Turkish citizens on Wednesday night. News agency ANP reports that Koenders expressed the Netherlands' grave concern about the reports in a Turkish newspaper, and widely reported in the Dutch press. ‘Direct interference by a foreign...  More >

Efforts to sell residency permits flop

Dutch efforts to sell residency permits to rich foreigners flop Just one rich foreigner showed an interest in a Dutch government scheme to encourage wealthy people to invest in the Netherlands in return for a residency permit and they were rejected as unsuitable, junior justice minister Fred Teeven has told MPs. When the ruling was announced a year ago, Teeven said he expected some 300 people would agree to invest €1.25m in the Netherlands in return for a one-year residency permit. The minister now plans to make the scheme ‘more attractive’, the Volkskrant reports.  This could involve making the residency permit valid for longer and changing the conditions attached to the accountants declaration about the origins of the investment cash. The current Dutch scheme also required the investment to generate jobs. Most parties in parliament oppose the VVD minister’s efforts to attract rich foreigners, describing it as ‘morally unacceptable’. Similar schemes are successful in other countries, the Volkskrant points out. For example,...  More >

Energy bills to be cut by €25 next year

Energy bills will fall as regulator cuts power transport fees Energy bills are set will be cut by an average of €25 next year because of cheaper transport costs for gas and electricity, the Telegraaf reports on Thursday. The paper says the country’s electricity and gas grid operators have been told to cut their fees by €260m a year by the Dutch consumers authority ACM. The regulator says regional network firms can work more efficiently than they do at present. In addition, network firms need less money for investments because of low capital market interest rates, ACM spokesman Henk Don told the paper. In total, the ACM has ordered a €200m cut in the bill for transporting electricity and a €60m cut in the cost of gas supply. This is the equivalent of €25 a household, depending on where in the Netherlands you live. High energy transport costs make it difficult for people to save money by switching providers because they account for such a large part of the bill, the Telegraaf said.  More >

Dutch unions agree mergers

Members of four big trade unions affiliated to the FNV have agreed to merge after all, despite earlier divisions about the plans. General workers union FNV Bondgenoten, civil service union Abvakabo FNV, building sector union FNV Bouw and FNV Sport have agreed to join forces to create a single, powerful grouping within the FNV alliance. Earlier this year, Bondgenoten members rejected the plan by a narrow majority. The creative industry union Kiem will vote on December 20 whether or not to join the merged group. The FNV is the Netherlands’ largest trade union federation and once the merger has been completed, will have 13 or 14 affiliated unions and more than one million members. CNV Also on Wednesday, two CNV public sector unions – the civil service union CNV Publieke Zaak and the teaching union CNV Onderwijs agreed to merge into a single unit. The new public sector union will be named CNV Connctief and has 125,000 members. It will be chaired by Helen van den Berg,...  More >

Dutch women target football World Cup

Dutch foreign minister talks to Turkey after racism claim row The Dutch women’s football team can make history later on Thursday by qualifying for the first time for the World Cup. The Oranje women take on Italy in their crucial final qualifying match in Italy. The two sides drew 1-1 during the first leg in The Hague on Saturday. Football is an increasingly popular sport among Dutch women and girls and some 136,000 are now members of Dutch clubs. In 2001, the figure was 67,000. In 2009 the Dutch women qualified for the European Championships for the first time and reached the semi-finals. This July, the Dutch under-19 women’s team won the European title and Vivianne Miedema, now the women’s team’s main striker, was top scorer with six goals. Miedema, who is 18, recently signed to Bayern Munich for a three-year period.  More >