RNW Dutch Press Review - 29 January 2008
A roundup of today's press by Radio Netherlands.
RNW Dutch Press Review - 29 January 2008 – by Frank Scimone
Nrc.next writes that “Because of Dutch objections the EU’s 27 member states were unable to sign a definitive accord with Serbia.” The newspaper is referring to Monday’s compromise interim-agreement reached by EU diplomats after the refusal of the Netherlands and Belgium to ratify the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with Serbia because of its refusal to hand over war crimes suspects to the Yugoslavia tribunal in The Hague.
The Stabilisation and Association Agreement would have been Serbia’s first step towards EU membership. Nrc.next writes that approving the agreement “was supposed to have served as a ‘message’ to the Serbians who are choosing their next president on Sunday: either the radical nationalist Tomislav Nikolavic or the pro-Western Boris Tadic.”
According to nrc.next “Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen was the most outspoken: The Stabilisation and Association Agreement would not be signed before Serbia’s former general Ratko Mladic, suspected of carrying out the mass killings in Srebrenica, was on his way to The Hague.” Instead the EU reached an extremely vague compromise proposal which promises that the Stabilisation and Association Agreement will be signed “when all necessary steps are taken”.
Nrc.next writes that the Dutch objections received a lot of coverage in the Serbian media. Serbian newspapers said that the Netherlands was for the most part to blame for the postponement of the signing of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement. Srdjan Majstorovic from the EU’s Integration Office in Belgrade says
“The pro-EU parties in Serbia will become embittered, which will be to the advantage of the EU-sceptical presidential candidate Tomislav Nikolovic. The pro-Western President Boris Tadic, who for a long time expressed sympathy for the Dutch standpoint, told the Serbian news agency BETA yesterday the he considers the Netherlands ‘the spoilsport’.”
The authoritative right-wing newspaper Politika blamed the uncompromising Dutch position on the ‘Srebrenica trauma’, says Srdjan Majstorovic..
Dutch MPs misty-eyed about their animals
De Volkskrant writes that “Since the Party for the Animals entered parliament, animal welfare is an important point on the agenda. On Monday parliament spent the entire day discussing tail-biting (among cooped-up) pigs, cows which don’t have enough space to move and chickens without enough fresh air.”
Even MPs for the right-wing Party for Freedom feel a need to show how animal-friendly they are. “With a lump in his throat and misty eyes, Party for Freedom MP Dion Graus tells about his best friend, his dog. His speech lasts six minutes and its meaning is apparent: whoever hurts my dog, hurts me.”
The MPs were debating the animal welfare amendment proposed by Agriculture Minister Gerda Verburg. “The Christian Democratic minister sighs throughout the first hours of the debate. During the arguments presented by members of an animal welfare commission “she peers into the chamber in a daze”.
GreenLeft MP Ineke van Gent argues why people who ride horses need a license. “Minister Verburg can’t help it anymore and bursts out laughing.” “I see you think this is funny, but it’s a serious question”, Ms Van Gent bites back.
Ban on adverts for electronic cigarette
De Telegraaf reports that Dutch Health Minister Ab Klink has banned advertising for the SuperSmoker, an electronic cigarette manufactured in China. The minister had previously said he wanted to ban the cigarette outright,
“but first he wants to arrive at a decision with his EU colleagues on the status of the SuperSmoker: is it a medical product or a stimulant”.
The electronic SuperSmoker can be fitted with nicotine tubes and has the advantage that it is “healthier” for the smoker and does not emit fumes so there is no danger of passive smoking. The biggest advantage is that it can be smoked in public. The distributor is planning to appeal the advertising ban.
Suspect attempts to handcuff police officers
De Telegraaf writes that police officers attempted to arrest a 38-year-old man in Arnhem for calling an emergency number and threatening personnel. The suspect, who was inebriated, had his own set of handcuffs and tried to detain one of the officers, unsuccessfully.
[Copyright Radio Netherlands 2008]
Subject: Dutch news