Dutch news in brief, Monday 14 September 2009

14th September 2009, Comments 0 comments

Read the roundup of today's Dutch press from Radio Netherlands.

Leaked Dutch budget makes gloomy reading
Monday's papers all deal with the budget due to be announced Tuesday during the Queen's Speech, but leaked over the weekend in the Dutch media.

In its headline, nrc.next describes the leaked budget as "A sombre message" with less money to go round, swingeing cuts to be introduced and taxes and premiums set to go up.

It says the average Dutch citizen has not been hit by the economic crisis - yet. However, public debt is increasing and that means cuts and years of declining purchasing power are on the way.

The government’s message is that to do nothing isn't an option and that a number of "fundamental political reassessments" will have to be made so the country will be back on course by 2020.

The AD warns that the real cuts won't bite until 2011. Over the next few months, 20 government working groups will be investigating how a whacking 20 percent can be sheared off public spending. No political holy cows will be spared, it says, with central policies on employment, health and education all coming under the spotlight.

Minister guns for retirement age rise
Raising the retirement age to 67 has been on the agenda before the economic crisis as a means of tackling the problem of demographic change.

Social Affairs Minister Piet Hein Donner lashes out in de Volkskrant at people who ignore the fact that increasingly fewer workers will have to support more retired people in the years ahead.

"People who do so are burying their heads in the sand. Doing so, means building our social security system on quicksand," he tells the paper.

Donner aims his guns at the unions and sections of the Labour Party who have come out against a later retirement age. He also has little time for a possible alternative being tentatively put forward by some unions and employers. This would see people deciding for themselves whether they work beyond the age of 65.

"The good thing about retirement legislation is that, as soon as you're born, we know when it'll be your turn," the minister argued.

Bigger bill for asylum seekers
De Telegraaf reports justice ministry's budget plans to give more money to asylum seekers.

After having to source an extra EUR 134 million for the increased number of asylum seekers this year, another EUR 100 million extra will be needed next year.

The paper says not only are more than expected asylum seekers entering the country, fewer failed applicants are leaving. The repatriation service (DT&V), it tells us, has not done as well as expected. On top of an extra EUR 58 million this year, the service will need an additional amount of EUR 42 million in 2010 as its staff will be increased to over 19,000. 

The paper also points out prison closures are being planned as a means of saving the ministry money.

Dutch minister threatens Amsterdam, Rotterdam with legal action
Trouw has a front-page report that Family and Youth Minister André Rouvoet is threatening Amsterdam and Rotterdam with legal action.

The Christian Union minister is insisting the two metropolitan regions fulfil their commitments to clear the waiting lists for youth and child welfare services by the end of the year.

A backlog of vulnerable youngsters is waiting for all kinds of special help, including places in children's homes, day centres and with foster parents.

"All the provinces and regions have undertaken to keep to the agreed targets except Amsterdam and Rotterdam," he explained.

"That is unacceptable. If they fail to provide a speedy explanation, I will take legal action."

The government has said that, by 2011, young people in need will only have to wait a maximum of nine weeks for special help of this kind.

Radio Netherlands / Mike Wilson / Expatica

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