RNW Press Review, Tuesday 3 June 2008

3rd June 2008, Comments 0 comments

Catch the news in brief from the roundup of today’s press from Radio Netherlands.

3 June 2008

Labour party reflects on its drop in popularity
The NRC Handelsblad covers the debate raging in the Dutch Labour Party about its future course. The party has been doing soul searching since its poor showing in the 2006 elections when it won only 33 seats and the number of Socialist Party (SP) MPs jumped from 9 to 25.

An opinion poll recently showed Labour would win only 16 seats if an election were held now. Traditional leftists within the party are pushing for an alliance with the SP, while modernisers are horrified by the prospect.

In an interview with the NRC on Saturday, a Labour deputy minister described the party as "a groggy boxer reeling around the ring".

Deputy Prime Minister and Labour leader Wouter Bos is attempting to put a positive spin on the problem, saying he wants Labour to be "a party of debate". "When I became party leader," he tells us, "I promised myself I wouldn't stifle debate. And I'm keeping to that."

However, the paper comments that he did not look a very happy man.

Police crackdown on drug runners
De Volkskrant reports the crackdown on drugs runners active near the border with Belgium. Police on Monday were stopping cars with foreign number plates as they were returning across the border.

It is illegal to take drugs out of the country and the officers confiscated a large amount of drugs, including marijuana. They also wanted to know where the drugs had been bought.

It is reckoned that more than 1.5 million drugs tourists come to the south of the Netherlands each year. They intend to visit coffee shops which are allowed to sell small amounts of soft drugs.

However, the drugs runners attempt to intercept them on the A2 motorway and take them to illegal outlets which also sell hard drugs.

The problem is not simply to do with drugs as Maastricht's Mayor Gerd Leers explains: "It's incredibly dangerous. They drive like idiots looking for French and Belgian cars. They push people off the road, intimidate them and even use violence to get them to buy drugs."

Some 22,000 volunteer firefighters may resign
Trouw warns that the Dutch fire service is facing possible mass resignations of volunteers who make up about 22,000 of the service's 27,000 firefighters.

Due to a restructuring of the service into regions, local volunteers may be called upon to fight fires outside their district. The paper says someone who signed up as a volunteer in his home village may not be willing to fight fires in the nearest big city.

Herrings may be more expensive
De Telegraaf shocks its three-quarters of a million readers with the news that the national delicacy 'Hollandse nieuwe', the first herrings of the season soused in brine, may be dearer this year due to the high cost of diesel.

A spokeswoman from the Dutch Fishing Office explains: "the exact prices haven't been worked out yet, but they will be a bit higher than last season".

It remains to be seen whether the cost of eating the delicacy will highlight another Dutch national pastime, searching for a bargain.

[Radio Netherlands / Mike Wilcox / Expatica]

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