Press Review Monday 10 May 2010
Today's big news is the European Union's stability package for the eurozone. Unfortunately for the papers, there was still disagreement about the details of the deal when most of them went to press.European leaders have set up a large-scale emergency fund designed to prevent eurozone members in financial trouble from becoming bankrupt. De Volkskrant says it is hoped the move will send a clear signal to the markets that they are "no longer playing poker with single nations but with the whole euro bloc". It reports that about 60 billion euros will be available immediately from EU reserves and that the other eurozone countries will stand guarantee for much larger loans if necessary. The paper says Germany, the Netherlands and Finland were holding out on agreement for a long time, fearful of writing "a blank cheque". The three countries came under fire from European civil servants. "If we're not careful, we'll make the same mistake as with Greece," said one. "The final bill ends up being much higher because of offering too little help for weeks." De Telegraaf's headline calls it "D-Day for the euro" but, rather than attack, the paper talks about European leaders building a defensive wall around the single currency. It asks whether the speculators will make mincemeat of the euro or whether they will now be convinced that so much money has been pumped into the fight that "Fort Europe" is not to be taken. In an interesting footnote, de Volkskrant reports that the Netherlands has managed to win a place in the forthcoming G20 summit of leading financial nations. It says Dutch diplomats had a difficult battle to secure a place in the face of international irritation at the ending of the Dutch military mission in Afghanistan. Flu vaccines heading for the bin Still on money, if not quite so much, a headline in AD reports that "Flu vaccines can be binned". The health ministry still has 20 million doses of vaccine for swine flu, known as Mexican flu here in the Netherlands. This represents a loss of 200 to 300 million euros says the paper. The flu proved far milder than expected and only high-risk groups ended up being vaccinated against the disease. Caretaker Health Minister Ab Klink is now under fire for what has proved to be wasted money. Labour health spokeswoman Khadija Arib is scathing: "The minister's purchase was prompted by anxiety. That was short-sighted and stupid, especially at a time when savings are having to be made". AD says the health ministry is still negotiating with supplier GlaxoSmithKline about a possible deal on the return of the vaccines. Ominously, the two parties will only tell the paper that "the negotiations are still ongoing". Rubbish piling up in Amsterdam This morning's nrc.next runs a photograph of a street in Amsterdam, a mountain of rubbish is piled in front of parked cars. Similar scenes are to be witnessed all over the city centres of both the capital and Utrecht, the paper says. Council street cleaners and rubbish collectors have been striking since Thursday, demanding better pay and conditions. Talks with their council employers had still not achieved a breakthrough on Friday and are set to be continued this week. The Amsterdam and Utrecht workers are not due to resume their cleaning duties until Thursday. Cyclists race through Christian village The other papers all feature sporting photos on their front pages. Trouw shows a posse of cyclists speeding past Soestdijk Palace near Baarn in the centre of the country. The Giro d'Italia, one of Europe's three major professional road cycle races, kicked off in Amsterdam yesterday. The first leg took the contestants to the city of Utrecht. Since the paper does not mention any problems, it may be assumed that rubbish had been cleared from the cyclists' path. It does say, however, that about half a million people turned out to cheer the racers on in the province of Utrecht alone. The Protestant daily points out that there were problems with the race going through the village of Maartensdijk on the Sabbath. The village has a predominantly fundamentalist Christian population. Eventually, a deal was made: the contestants were allowed to speed through the village, but their entourage of sponsors and the like had to make a detour around the strictly Christian enclave. Dutch trainer shows a leg De Telegraaf plumps for the other choice of sporting photo on offer today. The Bayern Munich football team is shown smiling to the crowds after winning the German league championship. Well, there is actually more to it than that. Dutch coach Louis van Gaal, the team's trainer, fitted out in a pair of lederhosen, coquettishly hangs his leg, the lower half exposed, over the balcony of Munich town hall. The Dutch are proud of their export of top football coaches to various foreign league clubs and national teams and Mr Van Gaal is certainly not abashed by his own success. "We're not just champions of Munich, we're champions of Germany and maybe also of Europe," he told the fans, referring to the upcoming Champions League final against Internazionale on 22 May.
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