Dutch news in brief, 27 April 2005

27th April 2005, Comments 0 comments

MPs oppose higher diesel excise

MPs oppose higher diesel excise

A majority of MPs are opposed to raising excise taxes on diesel to reduce air pollution. The proposal is part of a series of measures Environment State Secretary Pieter van Geel is drawing up to bring Dutch air quality in line with European Union regulations. But discussions on Tuesday revealed the Christian Democrat CDA, Liberal VVD and populist LPF are opposed to higher excise taxes. Van Geel unveiled plans to combat air pollution last week — including the regulation of car demolition works and fiscally stimulating carbon filters for vans. However, the Government Institute for Public Health and Environment (RIVM) said earlier this week that these measures are inadequate.

Third Maja murder suspect jailed

The appeals court in Arnhem sentenced 20-year-old Ferdi O., of Nijmegen, to 12 years in jail on Wednesday for his role in the murder of schoolgirl Maja Bradaric. The 16-year-old Nijmegen girl was killed in the back of a car in November 2003 and her body was set alight on swampland near the town of Bemmel. O. was ordered to serve 11 years jail by Arnhem Court in May 2004, but appealed the ruling. He claims he participated in the killing out of fear of main suspect Goran M., who was sentenced to 10 years jail and psychiatric detention last December. The 17-year-old Goran P. was jailed for five years because he was in the car at the time of the murder, but did not try and prevent it.

Public service strikes threatened

Talks over a new wage deal for the nation's 190,000 municipal public servants have ran aground over an offer of a 0.45 percent wage rise starting from 1 October. Unions are demanding a 1.25 percent wage rise, backdated to 1 January. Unions are also disgruntled about the planned abolition of the compulsory retirement age of 55 to 60 for fire brigade and ambulance public servants. Union Abvakabo FNV will present its ultimatum to municipal councils later this week and if no agreement is reached, industrial action will be initiated.

MPs reject inquiry into JSF project

MPs have rejected a Labour PvdA motion for an inquiry into the financial return expected from the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) project. The Dutch have contributed EUR 600 million to the project so far and despite US promises of billions of euros in industry orders, no new orders have been placed with Dutch firms in the past year. The government has blamed the lack of orders on delays in the US, rejecting calls for an investigation. But concerns have been raised in the US Congress that the JSF will not prove financially viable. The Netherlands wants to replace its ageing fleet of F-16 fighter jets with the JSF.

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Dutch news

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