Council of State to report on euro and 'options for the future'

Council of State to report on euro and ‘options for the future’

The Dutch government's most important advisory body, the Council of State, is to draw up a comprehensive report on the euro, looking at what can be done to improve stability and make sure member states meet the eurozone rules. The decision to commission the report was taken by the parliamentary finance committee on the last day of sittings ahead of the March 15 general election. The report will look at the impact of various treaties governing the introduction and working of the euro as well as how well eurozone countries comply with the rules. In particular, it will look to identify obstacles to compliance and possible improvements. The finance committee's motion was given unanimous support in the lower house of parliament. News of the vote to commission the report prompted a flurry of coverage in the British press about the Netherlands holding an inquiry on whether the Netherlands should leave the euro. Voltallige kamer wil advies van Raad van State over de Euro: - hoe gingen afspraken mis? - welke opties voor de toekomst van de euro? — Pieter Omtzigt (@PieterOmtzigt) February 23, 2017   More >

MPs back Ukraine treaty compromise

Council of State to report on euro and ‘options for the future’ As expected, the compromise struck between prime minister Mark Rutte and the European Commission was backed in the Dutch parliament on Tuesday night. Opposition parties D66 and GroenLinks had already pledged to back the plan, which Rutte says does justice to the no vote in last year's referendum. In December, prime minister Mark Rutte won the support of the 27 other European leaders for a supplementary declaration to the Ukraine treaty which makes it clear what the agreement actually entails. However, there will be no time left to finalise the bill and win approval in the senate before the general election. The senate only has one more meeting before the vote, on March 7.   More >

Turkish consulate revokes passports

Council of State to report on euro and ‘options for the future’ The Turkish consulate in Rotterdam has been confiscating the passports of people it says support the Gülen movement, which Ankara holds responsible for last year's failed coup, Trouw said on Friday. Several people have been told that they are listed as wanted fugitives and that they will be given a one-day passport to travel to Turkey. There they will have to appear before the courts to prove their innocence, at which point their passports will be returned. Trouw said the Dutch government is aware of several cases but that no record is being kept of how many are affected. 'Every nation state is free to grant and revoke passports,' a foreign affairs ministry said. 'The Netherlands has no influence on this.' The Turkish ambassador to the Netherlands has refused to comment on the claims, the paper said. At least four people have approached lawyers specialising in asylum issues but they told Trouw more people, including Kurds and journalists critical of the Ankara regime, have been affected as well. At least one woman who is not a dual national has been rendered stateless after her passport was revoked and this has made it difficult to renew her Dutch residency permit, the paper said.  More >

Turkish NATO soldiers ask asylum

Turkish NATO soldiers ask for asylum after attempted coup Over a hundred Turkish NATO soldiers applied for asylum in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany in the wake of the attempted coup in July last year, public broadcaster NOS and the NRC said on Tuesday. Some 700 Turkish troops were employed by NATO at the time. Two months after the attempted coup the Turkish government published a list of NATO staff they considered untrustworthy, including 400 who were mainly employed in the Benelux countries, Germany and the US. The soldier were ordered to return to Ankara. Those who did were arrested on arrival. Most stayed where they were in order to avoid persecution. The number of Turkish asylum requests increased in many European countries after the coup. In the Netherlands the number rose from 50 in 2015 to 235 in 2016. In Belgium asylum requests tripled to 736. In Germany some 5,700 Turks put in a request compared to 2,000 the year before. In an interview with the NRC, three Turkish soldiers who have asked for asylum in Belgium said they knew a fellow soldier who went back and was tortured. Proof ‘There is no proof at all we were involved in the attempt. But I was trained in the United States. In the eyes of the ultranationalists in the Turkish army this may make me too pro-Western,’ one soldier told the paper. The positions of the Turkish soldiers have now been filled by other, pro-Russian Turkish soldiers, a situation which is worrying NATO headquarters, according to NOS foreign correspondent Arjan Noorlander. ‘These soldiers stand for a different, more pro-Russian agenda and are not completely trusted by the other 27 NATO countries,’ Noorlander said. ‘That creates a risky situation in a military volatile world in which Turkey plays a crucial role.’  More >

Dutch officials work hard on 'Brexodus'

Council of State to report on euro and ‘options for the future’ The Dutch financial services regulator AFM and Amsterdam officials are in talks with a number of companies considering relocating from Britain because of Brexit, the NRC said on Tuesday. An AFM spokesman told the paper a number of 'financial market companies' have reported to the regulator to 'orientate themselves about relocation'. So far, the spokesman said, officials have had talks with 'several dozen' companies, including traders, asset managers and companies which sell financial data. Amsterdam's economic affairs alderman Kajsa Ollongren told the paper her talks have become 'more concrete'. 'Companies are coming to have a look around,' she said, adding that she is talks with 'more than a handful' of financial and non financial firms. Mid-January, British prime minister Theresa May said that Britain would be leaving both the EU and the EU's internal market. This could mean financial firms based in London would lose direct access to the EU, the paper pointed out. European market The Dutch foreign investment agency NFIA has a small office in London, but doubled the personnel from three to six in the wake of the Brexit vote. It is targeting all companies which are active on the European market, not just financial firms. Rotterdam also sees opportunities to bring in firms from London, the city's economic affairs alderman Maarten Struijvenberg told the paper. He hopes to attract maritime service providers, including insurance companies, to relocate to the port city. Consultancies such as EY and KPMG are also helping companies looking to relocate, the paper said. For example, EY has issued a brochure outlining the benefits of the Netherlands, including the fast internet, language skills and good quality of life. However, the 20% ceiling on bankers' bonuses is an issue, even though it does not apply to international banks, Ollongren said. The shortage of international school places in Amsterdam itself is also a concern.  More >