Dutch news in brief, 18 April 2005

18th April 2005, Comments 0 comments

Falling Dutch support for EU Constitution

Falling Dutch support for EU Constitution

A confidential survey conducted on behalf of the Dutch Cabinet has demonstrated that just 40 percent of less informed voters and 50 percent of better informed voters support the European Union Constitution. A similar poll in March produced figures of 45 percent and well above 50 percent respectively, indicating the constitution is losing Dutch support, website euobserver.com reported. The Netherlands will stage a referendum on the constitution on 1 June.

Melkert misses out on UN post

Former Labour PvdA leader Ad Melkert has missed out on a top job with the United Nations. Melkert was personally informed by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan that he would not be appointed as director of the development programme, UNDP. Deputy Prime Minister Gerrit Zalm made the announcement at a meeting of the International Monetary Fund in Washington. Melkert had informed Zalm shortly beforehand that he was out of the running for the job. It is not yet known who will be appointed UNDP chief, but Zalm said Melkert's position with the World Bank is not at threat.

Telephone box an endangered species

The KPN phone box is rapidly disappearing from city streets. There are just 5,000 left and a further 500 will disappear this year. There were 14,400 phone boxes in the Netherlands in 1999, but the rise of the mobile phone has made them superfluous. A KPN spokesman said 93 percent of Dutch people now have a mobile phone, website 'nu.nl' reported. He could not confirm how many phone boxes must remain, but said residential areas of 5,000 people or more must retain a telephone box. Some municipalities and members of the public subsidise KPN to keep open unprofitable phone boxes, such as for asylum seeker centres or nightclubs.

Philips books poor start to 2005

Dutch electronics firm Philips booked a disappointing EUR 117 million net profit in the first three months of this year, compared with EUR 550 million in the same period in 2004. Company turnover remained relatively unchanged at EUR 6.64 billion, 'Radio Netherlands' reported. The fall in profit was due to tighter margins in semi-conductors and an unfavourable development in the market for flat screens. Over-production of flat screens has placed a downward pressure on price. The divisions of household goods and consumer electronics reported increased profits.

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Dutch news

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