RNW Press Review, Thursday 5 June 2008
Catch the news in brief from the roundup of today’s press from Radio Netherlands.5 June 2008
A black dream comes true
Barack Obama's nomination as the Democratic candidate in the November presidential elections is the main story on the front pages of all Dutch newspapers but De Telegraaf.
De Volkskrant says that "A black dream has come true", AD writes that "Obama changes US history" while Trouw reports "Congratulations for Obama."
In an editorial, Trouw writes that Hillary Clinton's defeat is mainly proof of Obama's strength. The paper writes that Hillary Clintons was a strong candidate who would have been a tremendous role model for women across the globe. However, she made a number of crucial mistakes, including her belief in the inevitability of her nomination.
Trouw says that in the end, Clinton's defeat is mainly proof of Obama's rhetorical and organisational skills, but warns Obama of repeating his rival's mistake by assuming he will win an easy victory over Republican candidate John McCain.
Obama will have to increase his ability to unite the Democratic electorate and the American people in general.
In its editorial AD writes that whatever the result of the November presidential election, Obama's nomination as the first black candidate for the US presidency is a milestone.
AD says that Hillary Clinton's nomination would also have been historic, but after the Bush dynasty, US voters appeared to have no stomach for a Clinton dynasty.
The paper doubts whether Obama's message of change automatically made him the better candidate and asks whether "Hillary should form a dream team with Obama", but concludes that secretary of state would be a better option, both for the US and the world.
Verdonk cancels travel plans
Today’s De Telegraaf is the only leading Dutch newspaper not to feature a picture of Barack Obama on the front page.
Instead, it has a picture of a rather angry-looking Rita Verdonk, who is upset about a government decision to end the current arrangements for her security.
The former integration minister and current leader of the Proud of the Netherlands movement says: "I don't feel safe."
In a letter, Justice Minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin informed her that the cabinet feels bodyguards are no longer necessary. When she was still integration minister, extensive security arrangements were introduced for Verdonk because of a realistic threat of an attack on her life.
In a reaction, Verdonk said she would cancel a planned membership recruitment campaign because she felt it was too dangerous for her to travel alone.
In an interview with De Telegraaf she said "I don't feel safe, I am starting my own movement, we're doing very well in opinion polls. Muslim radicals and left-wing extremists know one thing: If I came to power, I would deal with them."
Positive outlook for Dutch economy
De Volkskrant writes that the International Monetary Fund and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development have only good things to say about the Dutch economy. The IMF has even withdrawn a warning about the Dutch housing market.
In two reports published on Tuesday and Wednesday, the IMF and OECD write they expect Dutch economic growth to decrease to between 2.1 and 2.3 percent, compared to 3.5 in 2007. Growth is expected to decrease even further to between 1.6 and 1.8 percent in 2009.
Although these figures are low, they are much higher than those predicted for other countries in the Euro zone (1.7 percent in 2008, 1.4 in 2009) or in the United States (1.2 percent in 2008, 1.1 in 2009).
In its Economic Outlook, the OECD writes that: despite the worldwide slow-down, the Dutch economy is still moving apace." This is mainly due to Dutch producers who are still receiving plenty of orders for their products.
Dutch exports suffer from the expensive euro and Dutch consumer confidence has decreased substantially compared to 2007, but the OECD expects wage increases caused by a tight labour market will lead to increased consumer spending and a restoration of economic growth, which is being predicted for the second half of 2009.
Unemployment benefits may be reduced
AD reports that sources say a government-appointed commission will propose reducing unemployment benefits to three months compared to the current maximum of 38.
After dismissal, workers are awarded an additional month of benefits for each year of employment.
The commission, which is to publish its report in two weeks, is expected to propose that employers will help workers find a new job for one year, during which period they will continue to pay their salaries.
The commission assumes employers will work harder to assist their former employees if it is to their financial benefit. Under the new scheme, workers would be obliged to cooperate if additional training was necessary to find a new job.
After the first year, workers would only receive benefits for three months.
Workers could take out an insurance policy if they wanted to receive benefits for a longer period. The commission reportedly wants social security to be geared more towards helping people find jobs.
No more Christmas party for GVB workers
De Telegraaf reports that Amsterdam's transport company GVB has decided that bus and tram workers in the north of the city will no longer be allowed to celebrate Christmas at their depots.
The Workers association Tram and Bus Workers North has been informed by management that "the multi-cultural representation of colleagues at the Christmas party is too one-sided", and it would be better to organise a different kind of party that all GVB workers would feel comfortable with.
In a reaction, the workers association said that the Christmas party in Amsterdam North was a tradition, and that all colleagues were welcome. "We said that our colleagues would not like it if the party were scrapped"
A GVB spokesperson said: "We have a limited budget, and we want to organise a party for everybody."
"Maybe a New Year's party."
[Radio Netherlands / Georg Schreuder Hes / Expatica]