More potential ministers' names emerge as new Dutch cabinet takes shape

Government to take no action over pensioners who are refused mortgages

Several new names of potential ministers have emerged since Wednesday afternoon and although not all cabinet posts have yet been filled, the new Dutch coalition is taking shape. ChristenUnie MP Arie Slob now seems likely to get the top job at education while VVD parliamentarian Cora van Nieuwenhuizen is tipped for infrastructure. CDA stalwart Ferdinand Grapperhaus is set for the post of justice minister and the CDA's Ank Bijleveld will become defence minister, Dutch media report. According to the Financieele Dagblad, only the housing, and foreign trade and development jobs have yet to be filled. The decision of three long-serving VVD ministers not to join the new cabinet has led prime minister Mark Rutte to turn to new blood alongside close allies Halbe Zijlstra (foreign affairs), Sander Dekker (security) and Eric Wiebes (economic affairs and climate), the FD says. CDA leader Sybrand Buma has taken more risks with his appointments, the FD said. For example, Ferdinand Grapperhaus, named as a potential justice minister, has no experience of the inner workings of parliament, nor does finance minister Wopke Hoekstra. The FD also points out that so few women's names have leaked out. Asked last week about the appointment of women to top jobs, Rutte said: 'I am striving to find the best people. The division of roles between men and women is secondary to that'.  More >

Fewer family members join refugees in NL

Government to take no action over pensioners who are refused mortgages Fewer family members have come to join refugees with a residency permit over the past three months, national statistics office CBS said on Thursday. In the second quarter of this year, 4,095 family members moved to the Netherlands, but their number fell 45% to 2,260 in the third quarter, the CBS said. At the same time, the number of new asylum seekers applying for residency status rose 14% to 4,385. It is the first time that more applications were made by new arrivals than family members, the CBS said. In particular, fewer Syrians came to the Netherlands to join a family member with refugee status in the three months to end-September. Their number fell by more than half to 1,260. Eritreans and Iraqis accounted for the second and third biggest groups of new arrivals. The CBS bases its report on figures from the IND immigration service.   More >

1,600 meat farmers use 'better life' label

Government to take no action over pensioners who are refused mortgages Some 1,600 Dutch farmers now rear chickens and pigs under the 'Beter Leven' trade-mark, which indicates better living conditions for the animals. The scheme was launched ten years ago when six poultry farmers gave their hens more room and a covered outdoor space to forage, so qualifying for the trade mark just launched by animal protection group Dierenbescherming. By 2012 the number of participating farms had reached 800 and now 31 million animals are being reared under 'better life' conditions, broadcaster NOS said on Thursday. The trade mark has a three-star system - the more stars the better the way the animals are reared. Despite the shift to more animal friendly farms, some 2,500 Dutch poultry, pig and other farmers still offer their animals no additional facilities, NOS said. Much of their meat is sent abroad to countries where animal welfare is not as high on the agenda. 'We are leading the way in the Netherlands, but we are not yet done,' Niels Dorland of  Dierenbescherming told NOS. 'We have to keep on going because 2,500 is still far too many.' Supermarkets Earlier this month, animal rights lobby group Wakker Dier said supermarkets are still not doing enough to encourage the sale of chicken with a quality label and some are selling more of the cheapest meat to produce. The organisation conducted a random test among 12 big supermarket chains and found that two thirds of chicken products did not have any form of quality label. ‘That means supermarkets are promoting the sale of chickens raised in the poorest circumstances,’ a Wakker Dier spokesperson said. Almost 30% of chicken products now have some form of quality label, up seven percentage points compared to last year. But given that last year’s increase was 25%, this year’s figures are not good news, the organisation said.  More >

Bill for car fires reaches €40m

Government to take no action over pensioners who are refused mortgages The number of car fires in the Netherlands has reached a five-year high, with over 2,808 cars set ablaze in the nine months to the end of September, according to new figures from national insurance association Verbond van Verzekeraars. More cars are set on fire in Noord-Brabant and Zuid-Holland than other parts of the country - there have been 506 fires in Noord-Brabant and 463 in Zuid-Holland so far this year. In Zeeland, by contrast, there have been just 58. The figures only include cars with all-risk insurance and would be far higher if all cars destroyed by fire are included, the VvV said. Only a tiny fraction of fires are due to electric failures and most are started deliberately. The insurers say the average damage to a car is €10,000, taking the total damages bill for a year to some €40m.  More >

ASML steps up R&D expenditure

Government to take no action over pensioners who are refused mortgages Chip machinery maker ASML is stepping up its annual research and development expenditure after the striking success of its new EUV chip machines, the Veldhoven-based company told the Financieele Dagblad on Thursday. Development of the 'extreme ultraviolet lithography' machines took several years and cost millions of euros but the company has delivered three EUV machines in the past three months, bringing total sales to six for the year.  In addition, it has orders for 23 more advanced EUV machines which sell for €100m each. ASML plans to invest €1.5bn on R&D this year and this expected to increase in the future, CFO Wolfgang Nickl told the paper. ASML is working on further development of EUV technology whereby chips will be printed by an ultraviolet beam. ASML booked revenues of €557m in the third quarter of 2017, well up on €397m in the year-earlier period. Turnover rose to €2.45 bn (€2.21bn). The order book for 2018 stands at €5.7bn. ASML has the largest corporate R&D expenditure in the Netherlands.  More >