Dutch news in brief, Thursday 19 March 2009

19th March 2009, Comments 0 comments

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

Still no agreement on crisis policy.....

Most of today's papers report on the cabinet's failure to reach agreement on a crisis policy.

In the main headline on its front page, De Telegraaf says it's "shameful" that the "coalition once again postpones crisis talks".

The paper talks of "swelling criticism", and writes that opposition parties, employers’ organisations and trade unions accuse the coalition of playing political games instead of decisively dealing with the economic crisis.

It was announced on Wednesday that the crisis talks would continue on Monday, after the coalition parties reportedly spent most of the day arguing about whether they wanted to meet at all.

De Volkskrant, as always slightly less dramatic in style, writes that a crisis plan is not expected to be delivered until after the weekend.

According to the paper, the coalition partners have reached agreement on the broad outlines of a five billion euro stimulus plan and on raising the retirement age.

The main obstacle is whether the cabinet should commit itself to introducing budget cuts in 2011.

The Labour Party and the Christian Union don't want to nip economic growth in the bud by cutting government spending.

Mosques make substantial contribution to Dutch society

Trouw reports that research sponsored by the interior ministry shows that language classes and aid provided by mosques save society as a whole about 150 million euros a year, the equivalent of 2,600 fulltime jobs.

Researcher Jaap van der Sar says the estimate is "on the low side".

The added social value of the average mosque is about equal to that of an average church.

Migrant churches generate much less social output, mainly because they are smaller and fully occupied with organising their religious communities.

The researchers admit there are problems with Islam in the Netherlands, for example integration issues, but these problems are not included in their report.

Jaap van der Sar argues: "When we write about the church, we don't mention that (authors) Jan Siebelink and Maarten van 't Hart were traumatised by it, do we?"

I don't really want to rob you, but it’s the crisis, you know

AD writes that the police blame a recent surge in the number of robberies on the economic crisis.

The number has increased from 1,900 in 2006 to 2,395 in 2008.

National police robbery coordinator Paul Rijenga says there is "a considerable chance" that the number of robberies will increase further.

He says the increase is "nearly synchronous" with the reduced demand for young workers between the age of 15 and 24.

"When we compare the robbery figures with the data on the economic recession, there appears to be a clear correlation.....In a tight labour market young workers and migrants are the first to lose their jobs. Many of the robbers belong to these categories".

Dutch hospitals "full of Belgians and Germans"

Also in AD a report on the increasing number of foreign patients seeking treatment at Dutch hospitals.

AD writes that a report, to be presented today, reports a 50 percent increase since 2001.

Most of the foreign patients are from neighbouring Belgium and Germany.

The Dutch Hospitals Association says the increase is caused by the elimination of waiting lists for specialized treatments.

Spokesperson Jacques Bettelheim says "people apparently see that these days we are not only offering quality care, but also a high level of efficiency.

He adds that the foreign patients can provide a welcome additional source of revenue for the Dutch hospitals.

"We're talking about substantial amounts after all".

However, standards of care are apparently not equally high in all Dutch hospitals, at least not according to De Telegraaf, which reports that the emergency operating rooms at the IJsselmeer hospital in Lelystad were closed on Wednesday following the discovery of bugs, spiders and beetles.

The emergency ORs were built last year after the regular ORs were closed due to problems with contaminated air.

Farmers dumping milk in slurry pit

On its front page, De Telegraaf has a photograph of dairy farmer Marc van de Berk dumping milk in a slurry pit.

His unusual action was prompted by the "dramatically low" price farmers are being paid for their milk.

A government super levy on milk produced in excess of established quotas means it makes more financial sense for farmers to just simply dump their milk.

Dairy farmer Van de Berk says: "It's hopeless right now. Milk is worth 24 cents a litre now, and the super levy is 28 cents, which means I would have to pay to sell my milk".

Of course it hurts, this month I will be dumping 1,800 litres of milk in the slurry pit. I didn't become a farmer to do that, but I have to choose for my farm".

The farmers' organisation LTO says the price of milk is likely to stay low as the result of the collapsed world market.

Radio Netherlands/Georg Schreuder Hes/Expatica

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