Dutch news in brief, Friday 28 August 2009
Read the roundup of today's Dutch press from Radio Netherlands.
Hooligans confronts police at dance festival
AD interviews some police officers who were present at Saturday’s free dance festival at Hook of Holland that left one person dead and six injured.
The four plain-clothes policemen interviewed said they were deployed to find out how many hard-core Feyenoord hooligans were at the beach event.
Hooligans deliberately started fights all over the festival grounds “to see how many officers would respond, so they would knew how many we were.
When rioting broke out, the four officers found themselves standing back to back, surrounded by hundreds of hooligans.
One of the four said: “I was standing there with my gun drawn, surrounded by hundreds of rioters. They wanted to kill us. You are thinking: I must not fire any shots yet, I will need those bullets for later”.
Twenty police officers finally managed to relieve their four colleagues with “full use of our truncheons”.
According to one of the officers, calm resumed for a few minutes before hooligans began throwing sand-filled bottles, flower boxes and crush barriers at the police officers, who first fired warning shots, later followed by aimed shots.
The 19-year-old who died was literally thrown at the police officers by his buddies, said a police officer.
As the beleaguered officers slowly withdrew into the dunes, six of their colleagues on horseback were eventually able to relieve their colleagues and restore some measure of control by charging into the crowd several times.
AD reports although few police officers were injured, most have been seriously traumatised by Saturday’s events.
A police woman said: “I am scared, these blokes, who most of us know from our work at Feyenoord football matches, are going further than ever before. What will the future bring? Something has got to be done. It’s up to the politicians now”.
Cabinet wants 35-billion-euro budget cut by 2015
De Volkskrant writes the cabinet is looking for ways to make up for a budget deficit which could rise to EUR 35 billion by 2015, or about 20 percent of total annual budget.
According to the paper, Finance Minister Wouter Bos has recently informed the cabinet about the state of the nation’s financial affairs.
It is reported that even if the economy were to grow by two percent per year over the next few years, the Netherlands would still face a 5.5 percent GDP deficit, twice as much as is acceptable under current EU budget rules.
Bos and Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende have already said that 2010’s budget – traditionally presented on ‘Princes Day’, the third Tuesday in September – would be indicative of fiscal policies in the medium term.
Drastic reform of the housing and labour markets are no longer taboo, nor giving up entire government responsibilities.
Main coalition partner CDA (Christian Democrats) is looking to a leaner government as a solution to the expected budget deficit, and would like to start introducing budget cuts before the 2011 elections.
The other main coalition partner PvdA (Labour Party) is focussing on fiscal measures such as cuts to the current scheme of mortgage tax breaks and the deductibility of pension premiums.
The cabinet is expected to finalise negotiations on the 2010 budget today. Spending power is expected to decrease between 0.25 and 0.5 percent.
Few obstacles for dishonest businessmen
Trouw reports two-thirds of all local councils rarely investigate the integrity of entrepreneurs applying for a license.
Smaller municipalities in particular find the Bibob (Promotion of Integrity Evaluation by Public Bodies) legislation which lays down the rules for such integrity investigations ‘too time-consuming’, too complicated’ or simply ‘unnecessary’.
The law, introduced in 2003, enables local councils to check the credentials of any entrepreneur who submits a tender or applies for a license or a subsidy. If the investigation shows the entrepreneur has criminal ties, the local council can refuse or revoke the license or subsidy. So far, this has happened 376 times.
The Bibob law is a major tool to prevent the underworld using legitimate businesses as a front for their criminal activities. The law covers bars, restaurants, brothels and gambling halls. Real estate businesses will soon be added to the list.
As some local councils are stricter than others, the result is what is known as the ‘waterbed effect’, criminal entrepreneurs who are refused a license by one local council will simply try to get one from another.
Stroke patients wait too long for help
The annual Hospital Top 100 published by AD shows that patients with a cerebrovascular accident, or CVA, often have to wait for too long for treatment, leading to unnecessary risks of permanent disability.
Each year, more than 2,000 patients suffering from CVA undergo a life-saving emergency procedure - called thrombolysis - to dissolve a blood clot in their brain. Medical guidelines say the procedure must be carried out within one hour after the patient’s arrival at the Emergency Room. The longer the delay, the more brain tissue dies.
Each year, 700 patients have to wait too long for treatment. Hospitals do not keep records of how many patients suffer unnecessary disabilities as a result. However, in nearly 30 hospitals, fewer than half of all CVA patients are treated within an hour.
The health inspectorate announced it will give hospitals a year to improve their performance.
Radio Netherlands / Georg Schreuder Hes / Expatica