Press Review Monday 28 June 2010

7th July 2010, Comments 0 comments

This morning's papers are something of a mixed bag; a new coalition negotiator was appointed over the weekend and the Dutch team didn't play so there aren't any major results on the two issues that are of major importance to the Netherlands. However, that doesn't stop the papers from endless speculation on the coalition talks and our chances against Slovakia later today.

Herman Tjeenk Willink, vice president of the Council of State, was named as the new coalition negotiator on Saturday and the first round of talks under his stewardship get under way this morning. However, as Trouw reports, Mr Willink will not be negotiating a coalition agreement; his brief is to "clear a path in order to facilitate serious negotiations between potential coalition partners".

"Willink begins intermediate phase," headlines de Volkskrant and adds that Mr Willink will this morning meet with representatives of the five parties, "who have not ruled out working with each other but are presently deadlocked".

According to de Volkskrant's profile of the 69-year-old vice president of the Council of State, Mr Willink is also known as "the deputy king of the Netherlands," and is "Queen Beatrix's most important adviser".

According to AD, the appointment of Mr Willink is "remarkable," because "Queen Beatrix has ignored the advice of the previous negotiator and most party leaders," who had urged the queen to appoint two people, one from the VVD and one from the Labour Party. The paper says the queen has opted for an intermediate phase in the hope that the "deputy king can guide the parties towards coalition negotiations". sums up Mr Willink's task neatly: "deputy king starts work on vague task," says the paper.

The demise of Dutch posties Most of the papers cover Saturday's announcement by TNT Post that the company is going to scrap the post of postman. " TNT Post puts posties out in the cold," headlines Trouw and adds that all 15,000 full-time mail carriers were informed that their jobs no longer exist.

According to Trouw, the liberalisation of the mail delivery market and the continuing rise in the use of e-mail means that the company has very little choice but to cut personnel.

De Volkskrant writes, "the familiar postman we all know and love has started on his final round". The left-wing paper says "a combination of intense competition, falling mail volumes and increasing costs have forced TNT Post "to dump expensive postman and switch to cheap mail delivery personnel".

Record settlement in real estate fraud case Front-page news in de Volkskrant is the record out-of-court settlement in the Ivy real estate fraud case, the largest of its kind in the Netherlands. The case revolves around bribery and fraudulent property deals involving dozens of construction and real estate companies as well as managers at Philips Pension Fund and the Rabo Property Fund. It is called the Ivy case because its tendrils spread like the plant and its roots have proven extremely hard to find and eradicate.

According to de Volkskrant, the 75-million-euro settlement does not include a provision that will allow Jan van Vlijman to escape criminal prosecution, unlike the deal secured by fellow suspect Harry Hilders last week. He agreed to pay back 40 million euros and do 120 hours of community service. Both the Labour Party and the SP criticised the deal and Justice Minister Ernst Hirsh Ballin will have to defend it in parliament tomorrow.

Helicopter crash kills four AD reports that a helicopter crashed in Rotterdam on Sunday, killing four people, two of them photographers working for the paper. A third photographer survived the crash. They were covering a cycling event that was part of the promotion for the Tour de France, which starts in the Dutch port city next Saturday. The helicopter was flying about 50 meters above the cyclists when it suddenly began “moving erratically and slammed into the ground”.

De Telegraaf praises the pilot for "avoiding a bloodbath," by bringing the helicopter down at the side of the road and not ploughing into the cyclists. The race was cancelled and Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb tells the paper, "It's a terrible day, but the Tour is the Tour. Tragedies happen but we should not connect this event with the Tour de France".

The Netherlands prepares for crucial match The Netherlands-Slovakia match kicks off at four o'clock this afternoon and if the Netherlands wins, we go through to the quarterfinals. "Hour of truth for Oranje," headlines De Telegraaf on its front page and adds, "it is highly likely that the Dutch will face Slovakia without Rafael van der Vaart, who was injured in training on Sunday".

There is real determination in the Dutch team and striker Wesley Sneijder tells AD, "We must not lose against Slovakia, we can't, we won't. We are not coming home, we're going through to the final". The team is confident and AD’s headline reflects the mood in the Dutch camp "the Netherlands is ready for Slovakia".  

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