Expatica news

Dutch news in brief, 7 September 2004

Portuguese court refuses abortion ship entry

A Portuguese court refused permission to the Dutch abortion ship to enter Portuguese territorial waters on Tuesday. The court in Coimbra backed the Portuguese government’s decision preventing the Dutch foundation Women on Waves offering the abortion pill to its female citizens. Lisbon said its restrictive abortion policy — which allows the prosecution of women who undergo abortions that are not medically necessary — would be threatened if the ship was allowed entry, news agency ANP reported. Women on Waves hopes to take Portuguese women with an early and unwanted pregnancy into international waters — where it can operate under Dutch legislation — and provide them with the abortion pill. The Dutch group said it will appeal the court’s decision.

Netelenbos denies misleading MPs over Betuwelijn

Former Dutch transport minister Tineke Netelenbos denied on Tuesday she had misled Parliament over the costs of the budget-breaching construction of the Betuwelijn freight train route. She was responding to claims from former chief public servant Sweder van Wijnbergen — who told the Duivesteijn Commission on Monday that Netelenbos had tried to mislead MPs — and former Liberal VVD Nellie Verbugt, who said outright that Parliament was in fact misled. Economist Van Wijnbergen was a chairman of a special commission that had been highly critical of the freight train route. Failing to wait for the advice of that commission, Netelenbos had pushed through the construction of the line during the years of the Cabinet of Prime Minister Wim Kok (1994-2002). Netelenbos has since said it was necessary to build the Betuwelijn, partly based on agreements with neighbouring countries. The Duivesteijn Commission was set up late last year to investigate infrastructure budget breaches when it emerged that the Betuwelijn train route between the Netherlands and Germany would cost at least EUR 6 billion, six times higher than budgeted.

Dutch still biggest contributors to EU budget

The Netherlands was again the largest contributor to the European Union budget last year in relation to its national income. The net balance — the difference between payments into the EU budget and returns in the form of operational expenditure — amounted to EUR 2 billion or a net figure of negative 0.43 percent of the national income, the European Commission said on Tuesday. In 2001, the Dutch contributed 0.54 percent of its national income to Brussels. Other large payers are Sweden and Germany, both of whom contributed a net figure 0.36 percent of their national incomes. Portugal receives the most amount of money, receiving 2.66 percent of its national income from European Union subsidies. Every Dutch national paid EUR 120 to the EU last year.

Woman leaves village up to EUR 300,000

A former resident has bequeathed several hundred thousands of euros to the Drenthe village Valthermond, stating that the money must be spent on open space planning. The legacy was left by Aukje Wolf, who died in July at the age of 78 in Emmen. After the death of the woman, a special foundation was established which will decide how the money is spent, such as on public garden maintenance of the construction of a playground. The exact sum of money is not yet known, but could be between EUR 250,000 and EUR 300,000. Wolf lived for a large part of her life in Valthermond, leading according to a municipal spokesman a solitary life.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news