Press Review Friday 30 July 2010

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It's a crucial day for the coalition talks. Moroccan-Dutch are said to feel at home, while chat-room gays are blackmailed. Major job cuts at US subsidiary may fall foul of Dutch law and motorists are told to buy maps.

Coalition talks set to become 'official' Most of today's papers appear to be putting their money on official talks beginning next week on a right-of-centre government coalition between the conservative VVD, the Christian Democrats CDA and the anti-Islam Freedom Party PVV.

The Protestant daily Trouw says it's more or less certain that the parties will get down to the serious business of forming a coalition next week. This will be a breakthrough for PVV leader Geert Wilders and the paper says it's not clear whether he's backed down on some of his party's more contentious manifesto promises such as ethnic registration, banning the Qur'an and taxing the Islamic veil.

De Telegraaf reminds us that today will be a crucial day for the process, with the three parties involved taking the results of the past week of informal talks to their parliamentary factions. The paper says the most likely outcome will be a minority cabinet of VVD and CDA, with Mr Wilders offering support from the parliamentary benches. However, it says the VVD would prefer a regular majority cabinet, including the PVV as a full coalition partner.

De Volkskrant also plumps for a minority government, pointing out that most Christian Democrats balk at the idea of sitting at the cabinet table with members of the PVV. The paper also lists the many advantages of such a deal for Mr Wilders: he could claim not to be responsible for the government's gaffes, but would wield enormous influence, being able to push through much of his manifesto programme.

Moroccan-Dutch feel 'at home' With all the talk of divisive integration policies, it's pleasant to see a piece in suggesting that people from the Moroccan community feel at home in the Netherlands. Well, at least they apparently feel more at home than Moroccans in Europe as a whole.

The conclusion is based on a survey conducted in Ifrane in Morocco at a forum set up for young Moroccans living abroad. We're told that Moroccan citizens sent home about five billion euros in 2009. Not surprising then that the government is keen to keep up ties with its nationals building up lives in other countries.

Moroccans living in the Netherlands also had more faith in institutions, such as schools, the judiciary and the police, than their compatriots living and working in other EU countries. However, one negative point came through in the figures: an overwhelming majority of those questioned believe the Dutch have a very bad image of Moroccans. The paper suggests this is the reason why less than half feel Dutch despite having dual nationality.

Gays target of sex blackmail scam As if to illustrate the image problem of the Moroccan-Dutch, De Telegraaf scandalises it mass readership with an inside headline: "Dozens of gays blackmailed by Moroccans". Interestingly, de Volkskrant runs exactly the same story but doesn't mention the ethnic background of the three young men who did the blackmailing - all aged around 16.

The left-of-centre daily explains that the youths came into contact with their victims on gay internet chat sites. The men were then invited to meet the youths for sex. When they appeared at the designated spot for the date, the men were shown printouts of the incriminating chat sessions. Sometimes more youths were present and violence was used. The victims were forced to hand over as much as 750 euros.

Interestingly again, De Telegraaf fails to mention that the youths passed themselves off as underage boys in the chat sessions. Thus their victims were breaking the law in seeking to have sex with minors. Ever socially conscious, de Volkskrant advises gays to take care on the internet even when their pursuits are quite lawful. An activist warns them not to give details away that may leave them open to blackmail or other scams.

Dutch employment law may save jobs A number of today's papers pick up on the fact that the worker's council at Organon pharmaceutical company in the southern town of Oss is taking the fight to save 2,175 jobs to the courts. The US firm MSD announced plans earlier this week for a reorganisation at its Dutch subsidiary which would involve the drastic job losses. However, it has breached Dutch law by not involving the workers' council in the decision-making process.

"This means we can now only put forward conditions concerning how the reorganisation is put into practice but not concerning the decision itself," a council member tells today's Trouw. MSD is planning to wait till September to talk to the council about how the jobs will be shed.

The council fears that, in the meantime, MSD will try to find buyers for various parts of the Organon research concern. This will make it less likely that it will be able to survive as a single company, one of the aims of the council in its attempt to save the Dutch jobs.

Navigation systems - buy a map! Today's AD surprises us with the news that many Dutch holidaymakers rely entirely on their vehicle navigation systems to arrive at their destinations. "Don't just rely on the TomTom, buy a map," advises its headline.

A survey shows 70 percent of the holidaymakers questioned used a navigation system, 40 percent a map and nearly 20 percent played safe, using both. Despite this, 50 percent still got lost at least once. Surprisingly, more highly qualified people appear to get lost more often, with one-quarter of them losing the way three times or more driving to their holiday resort.

The paper acknowledges that most motorists are not so stupid as to follow the advice of navigation systems when they are told to drive "into water or a ravine". Still, the Dutch automobile association says people should prepare journeys properly and buy a map even if they have navigation equipment. "Then you've always got backup if the signal fails," says a spokeswoman.


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