Dutch news in brief, Wednesday 15 April 2009

15th April 2009, Comments 0 comments

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

Dairy farmers stage protest in The Hague against milk prices
De Telegraaf publishes a picture of Agriculture Minister Gerda Verburg milking a cow by hand on its front page.

Verburg’s action was a response to a protest staged by dairy farmers, who took nine cows to the square just outside the parliament buildings in The Hague. The minister’s father was a farmer and she was trying to show the public that she knows how to milk a cow.

The cost price of milk is currently about EUR 0.40 a litre, while farmers get paid only EUR 0.23. The situation is - apparently - mainly the result of the global economic crisis.

Verburg said while she understands dairy farmers are facing a bad situation, she could not and would not intercede in the market to stop price fluctuations.

Decision to purchase US-built JSF probably postponed
De Volkskrant reports ‘tensions’ over a decision to purchase US-built Joint Strike Fighters (JSF) are ‘mounting’ in parliament.

The coalition parties are divided on whether to go ahead with plans to purchase the JSFs to replace the old F16s currently used by the Dutch military. The Christian Democrats are in favour of buying the new planes, Labour has serious objections to the plan and the Christian Union has misgivings.

Labour is concerned a choice for the JSF would not actually lead to large contracts for Dutch subcontractors – as was originally promised. The party would like more information on the JSF's competitor, the Swedish-built Saab Grippen, so as to make a well-founded choice.

The CDA wants to purchase at least two JSF test planes this month, and the Christian Union wants to order at least one – estimated price EUR 140 million – to avoid loss of capital investment, as the government has already put hundreds of millions of euros into the development and production of the JSF project.

The coalition parties will meet with Deputy Defence Minister Jack de Vries later this week to discuss the possible purchase of the JSF.

Meanwhile, the opposition succeeded in securing an emergency debate on the issue Wednesday.

The opposition thinks its worst fears are about to be realised. After having been effectively sidelined in the recent debate on emergency measures to fight the economic crisis, the opposition has again flown into a rage over the cabinet's alleged 'backroom politics'.

The Freedom Party believes purchasing JSF test planes will mean a definite choice for the JSF. The party's request for an emergency debate was supported by three other opposition parties: D66, the Socialist Party and Green Left. They fear next week's big debate on test planes and the comparison between the JSF and the Saab Grippen will be nothing but a big farce.

Princess Maxima and the 'go f**k yourself' incident
De Telegraaf has two picture of Dutch Crown Princess Maxima looking at a note held up by a worker from electronic giant Philips during a working visit.

The visit which aims to inform Princess Maxima about ‘Girls in Technology’ saw several female technical professionals telling stories about their work in daily practice.

A Philips worker told the princess about the ins and outs of doing business with China, which sometimes led to complaints written in illegible characters, at which point she showed the princess the note.

The note appeared to be written in Chinese characters, but when turned sideways actually read ‘Go f..k yourself’.

The second photograph shows the princess laughing at the Philips workers' joke.

However, a spokesperson for the organisation behind the working visit, the Beta Technology Platform, said the joke was not part of the working visit: "Fortunately, it made the princess laugh, but it was rather inappropriate".

Radio Netherlands / Georg Schreuder Hes / Expatica

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