Dutch PM says it would be wrong to pile pressure on the Brits to quit the EU now

Man wanted by Canada in webcam blackmail case can be extradited, court says

Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte told parliament on Monday night he did not back forcing Britain to quit the European Union as quickly as possible. The country is in serious crisis, he said, and piling on the pressure is not an option.'I agree with everyone who says that it must happen "as quickly as possible",' he said. 'But that involves two elements - speed  and actually being possible.'The outcome of the referendum is 'absolutely awful' but, the prime minister said, he has one aim at this week's European summit and 'that is representing the interests on the Netherlands in first, second and third place.'VVD parliamentary party leader Halbe Zijlstra and Labour leader Diederik Samsom both emphasised that the British withdrawal from Europe should not be treated as an exercise in punishment.The Brexit is a 'wake up call' for Europe, they said.ReferendumAt the end of the debate, PVV leader Geert Wilders called on the government to set up a referendum on Dutch withdrawal from the EU. There is no majority support for a referendum in parliament.On Monday, the council of state published a damning report on draft legislation backing a Nexit referendum drawn up by a right-wing splinter party.The council said it is totally unclear what the consequences of a Dutch withdrawal from the EU would be and said VNL, which drew up the legislation, should be much clearer about what the alternatives would be.  More >

Polish workers still being exploited in NL

Man wanted by Canada in webcam blackmail case can be extradited, court saysPolish migrant workers in the Netherlands still face long working days, unpaid overtime, sexual intimidation and threats, despite a series of measures taken in 2011 to improve their situation, according to new research.Because of their dependency on recruitment agencies, Polish migrant workers remain extremely vulnerable to exploitation the research by organisations FairWork and Somo says. Yet, the government, the organisation points out, relies on self-regulation of the recruitment sector.The researchers interviewed over 100 Polish migrant workers all over the Netherlands on wages, discrimination, exploitation and sexual intimidation, health and lack of insurance, social isolation and work pressure.'The owner of the greenhouse where I was employed introduced a competition between workers,' one worker is quoted as saying in the report. 'He put a list with the names of all workers on the wall. They were ranked in phases according to their productivity. When someone was in the orange phase for a couple of days he would be fired.'Underpaid'Every year hundreds of Polish working migrants contact us because they have problems at work, ranging from being underpaid and long working days to exploitation and unjust fines,' said FairWork director Sandra Claassen.'Despite the fact that they have the same rights as Dutch employees, they are often abused. Their stories are the backbone of this report, and they show that a lot needs to be improved.'Some 150,000 Polish nationals live in the Netherlands.RegulationRecruitment agencies should be better controlled: self-regulation of the industry is failing and Polish workers pay the price,' said Somo spokeswoman Esther de Haan. 'Recruitment agencies and the government should take responsibility and make working conditions for Polish migrant workers in the Netherlands better.'The two staffing agency associations in the Netherlands, ABU and NBBU, told the broadcaster NOS that self-regulation does work.However, there are thousands of agencies which are not members of an association and stay under the radar. 'That does not mean they are all bad but ABU would like government inspectors and the tax office to focus on companies which avoid all forms of monitoring and regulation,' a spokesman said.  More >

Police raid transport firm in drugs probe

Police raid transport firm, arrest two, in drugs investigationRotterdam police have raided a transport company which they suspect is involved in  smuggling cocaine. Two men, aged 28 and 36, have been arrested but their identities have not been made public, Dutch media said on Tuesday.In total, raids were carried out at seven different locations belonging Rotterdam, Vlaardingen and Rhoon, police said. Eleven lorries belonging to the company, AFE Transport, were confiscated.The investigation began last September following the arrest of an English man on drugs charges. He is though to have had contact with the Dutch suspects, news agency ANP said.In April, police raided company offices in The Hague in connection with the investigation, where they found 500 kilos of cocaine being found in double-bottomed trailer. Nine people were arrested at that time. The drugs, said to have a street value of €16m, were thought to come from Britain.Tuesday's raids involved a team of 80 police officers assisted by soldiers who are specialised in finding hidden spaces.According to the Telegraaf, the company AFE Transport hit the headlines earlier when it emerged it was using Bulgarian shell companies to employ Bulgarian drivers at below Dutch rates.  More >

Dutch mother takes Instagram to court

Man wanted by Canada in webcam blackmail case can be extradited, court saysThe mother of a 15-year-old girl has taken Instagram to court over a fake account under the teenager’s name containing naked photos and videos, reports The Volkskrant.This mother, from Hoorn in the Netherlands, wants to know who set up the account, but Instagram will not provide user data without a court order.A court in Alkmaar has heard that the photos and sexually explicit film do not actually feature the teenager, but the account included her nickname, and may be related to school bullying.Marianne Zeeman, the mother’s lawyer, reportedly said: “This is not the only incident. The girl has been pushed to attempt suicide several times.” She added that the family saw legal action against Instagram to test their “strong suspicions” about the culprit as the only way to deal with the bullying, as police had been unable to resolve the issue.Instagram, an American company, argued it is a neutral platform acting as an intermediary, not responsible for content, and bound to protect user privacy. Jens van den Brink, acting for Instagram, reportedly said it found itself “between a rock and a hard place”. The fake account has been taken offline.The court will give a decision on whether to force Instagram to reveal the name of the alleged bully by 11 July.Last year a 21-year-old Dutch woman called Chantal successfully took Facebook to court to find out who had posted a “revenge porn” sex film of her online, and an IP address involved is currently being investigated.Meanwhile, the Dutch government is planning to tighten rules to protect children online this year, making “sex chat” and sexual extortion of minors a crime.  More >

Farmers say June storms have hit crops

Farmers say June storms have devastated crops, farm buildingsFarmers in the south east of the Netherlands say June's storms have caused up to €500m worth of damage to crops this year and are calling on the government to declare a national emergency.That would make it easier for the hardest hit farms to apply for extra help and to protect firms which risk going bust, farming organisations say. It would also make it easier to clean up the damage. In some places, giant hailstones destroyed farm buildings and greenhouses as well as crops.The real picture won't become clear for a few months when the impact on the harvest of wheat and other crops takes place, the organisations say.Farmers have already submitted claims totalling €130m because of damage to crops, primarily in Limburg and Noord-Brabant, according to the insurers association Verbond van Verzekeraars.  More >