Dutch news in brief, Wednesday 3 December 2008

3rd December 2008, Comments 0 comments

Find out what’s the latest news in the Netherlands in the roundup of today’s press from Radio Netherlands.

3 December 2008

Wouter Bos wants savers’ interest to go to new fund
Today’s De Telegraaf reports that Finance Minister Wouter Bos wants savers to pay for a new savings guarantee fund.

The paper writes that savers "will have to hand over part of the interest on their savings immediately after they receive it". The money would be deposited in a yet-to-be-created fund which would be used to reimburse customers of collapsed banks

In Brussels on Tuesday, EU finance ministers decided to introduce a EU wide 100,000-euro maximum on guaranteed savings. At the meeting, Bos said he is aiming for a compulsory interest charge: "You could let savers choose whether they would want to be insured or not, but I don't think that is a good idea".

Under the terms of the current arrangement, financially healthy banks pick up the tab for the problems of their competitors.

Banks may ask for second round of state aid
De Volkskrant reports that banks are still reluctant to lend money. According to the paper, "There is but one depressing answer to Economic Affairs Minister Maria van der Hoeven's desperate question on why banks refuse to give loans: they need the money to stay afloat."

In the financial world, there is a growing awareness that Dutch banks and insurance companies will have to ask for government support. They are calling it the second round. Banks and other financial institutions are expected to incur more losses as a result of falling prices of real estate in the US and a deepening recession.

According to de Volkskrant, the banks will have little choice but to ask for more financial support. The paper writes that "It is fairly easy to predict that the second round will be a lot more difficult than the first".

Crisis in property and car industry
AD reports that experts say half of all Dutch car dealerships will disappear as a result of dramatically lower sales figures. November showed a 21.8 percent drop in sales of new cars compared to 2007.

Autodata, a company that gathers data on the car industry, says: "Car dealerships are facing huge stocks, which are growing larger by the day. Each day that a car is not sold costs money."

Last year, one third of the car dealerships sustained losses, and the current credit crisis is expected to deal the final blow to many of them.

De Volkskrant reports that 25 estate agents are expected to have gone bankrupt by the end of the year. An unknown number of estate agents have voluntarily closed their doors.

However, de Volkskrant writes that despite stagnating sales, estate agents still have their hands full: "Estate agents are busy calming customers who cannot sell their houses".

New integration proposal has stricter criteria
Trouw report on Tuesday's integration debate in parliament where the Christian Democrats, supported by the conservative VVD and the Freedom Party, introduced a proposal which would require potential immigrants to have completed secondary education and be fluent in either Dutch or English.

The proposal is at odds with the right to form a family as set down in international treaties.

The proposal is also new in that it would cover all immigrants, including Americans and Japanese.

Labour Party does not want stricter immigration rules, but focuses on the registration of the ethnicity of problem youths in national digital databases.

The party says that Surinamese, Moluccans, Somalis and Afghans have gone unnoticed in the statistics. MP Jeroen Dijsselbloem said: "A colour blind government should not lead to blind spots.”

A majority in parliament is in favour, despite the risk of stigmatisation and ethnic discrimination. However, the most controversial proposal came from Freedom Party MP Sietse Fritsma who submitted a proposal to crack down on the parents of juvenile delinquents.

He suggested parents be given jail sentences and possibly have their Dutch passports taken away if they fail to keep their children on the straight and narrow. He made a clear distinction between native Dutch children and those with migrant parents. He argued that if it was legal for the government to treat terrorists this way, he could extend the law to include failing migrant parents.

Dutch senate backs constitutional reviews
Nrc.next reports that the senate has approved a constitutional amendment which would allow judges to rule on the constitutionality of new legislation.

According to the paper, the Netherlands is the only European country where citizens do not have this right.

At present, Dutch citizens have to file a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg to test Dutch laws against the European Human Rights Treaty.

The bill was approved by a majority of one vote on its first reading. As it concerns a constitutional amendment, it will be resubmitted to parliament for a second reading. The bill must then be approved by a two-thirds majority in both houses of parliament.

In a commentary, nrc.next writes that testing against the constitution "would provide a welcome counterforce in Dutch politics. Much debate has been stifled by party discipline, coalition loyalty and coalition agreements."

[Radio Netherlands / Georg Schreuder Hes / Expatica]

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