Dutch news in brief, Wednesday 16 September 2009
Read the roundup of today's Dutch press from Radio Netherlands.Dutch 2010 budget dominates papers
The 2010 budget dominates the main papers today.
De Volkskrant writes the Cabinet h is hoping to find a way of getting people to accept the drastic budget cuts.
The paper describes Budget Day 2009 as “The calm before the storm: a budget which successfully softens the effects of the financial crisis, a bit of highly ritualistic political quarrelling and only in the far distance the threat of drastic measures”.
De Telegraaf quotes Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende: “Making cuts now would be disastrous”.
The paper writes that the prime minister is annoyed over accusations that his cabinet is slow in reacting to the crisis. Balkenende emphasised that no subject will be taboo in the coming cabinet discussions on possible measures for 2011 and beyond.
AD focuses on Finance Minister Wouter Bos is cracking down on the banks. The minister is working on a proposal for a bank tax to be imposed on “those who caused the crisis”.
The idea for a special bank tax was copied from the Belgians and would have the banks paying their share of the costs of the crisis.
The minister is also willing to consider a new tax bracket for top incomes.
Nrc.next writes: “The cabinet faces a political season of difficult choices: the costs of the welfare state are becoming prohibitive”.
Finally, Trouw reports “the cabinet threatens wage intervention” and caused relations with trade unions to come under pressure.
According to the paper, the social partners (employers organisations and trade unions) fiercely oppose possible government intervention in wages and benefits.
The cabinet urged the social partners not to agree expensive collective labour agreements. They ignore this admonition at their peril, as the government “will accept its responsibility”.
Relations with the unions were already strained because of plans to gradually raise the retirement age from 65 to 67.
Drug tourists no longer spotted in Bergen op Zoom and Roosendaal
De Pers reports drug tourists from Belgium and France have vanished from the towns of Bergen op Zoom and Roosendaal in the southern province of North Brabant after mayors of both towns successfully banned the sale of cannabis in coffee shops.
Terneuzen, a town in the south-western province of Zeeland, closed down its main coffee shop in 2008 after police discovered their supply exceeded the legal maximum. The town had been facing serious traffic problems as a result of the thousands of drug tourists a day who visited the coffee shop.
Against all expectations, there have been no problems. Zeeland police force spokesperson Esther Boot said: “We have been completely taken by surprise. Where have the drug tourists gone? We don’t know”.
According to Boot, there has been no increase in street trading. Police in the Belgian port of Antwerp also report there has been no increase in soft-drug related arrests since the cannabis-selling coffee shops across the border were closed down.
The city of Maastricht and seven other towns in the south-eastern province of Limburg are working on an identity card scheme for local customers to keep drug tourists out.
The paper questions the necessity of setting up a locals-only membership card as the foreign drug tourists have disappeared.
Batavians more Roman than thought
Trouw reports archaeological research shows that the Batavians, a Germanic tribe who inhabited the Netherlands around the beginning of the Christian era, were much more Romanised than previously thought.
After several decades of Roman rule, they had been Romanised to such an extent that they were cooking, building and bathing in Roman style.
In Dutch national history, the Batavians have acquired the status of heroes because of their struggle against the cruel roman oppressors.
However research by archaeologist Stijn Heeren from the Free University in Amsterdam shows they were actually a textbook example of successful integration.
Batavian integration was mainly the result of extensive trading and the large number of men who served in the Roman legions. Many of the Batavian soldiers introduced Roman objects and customs to their native communities when they returned home after their 25 years of service.
Radio Netherlands / Georg Schreuder Hes / Expatica