Anglophile Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte 'hates Brexit from every angle'

Anglophile Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte ‘hates Brexit from every angle’

Prime Minister Mark Rutte has told the BBC that as an Anglophile, 'I hate Brexit from every angle.' Rutte was speaking on the fringes of a summit of EU leaders in Brussels, at which Brexit is one of the hot topics. 'It is crucially important we know what Britain wants from Brexit,' Rutte said. 'I hope we'll come to some form of continued [UK] membership or relationship with the internal market. I absolutely believe the UK will be hit in the economy and the pound very hard.' Britain has been one of the Netherlands' chief allies within the EU and Rutte has been keen to build up a new network. 'If people talk about the French-German axis, then I think "what about the French-Dutch axis,' he told Dutch news agency ANP.  'I want to help shape Europe and you need alliances for that.' In the past few weeks, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourgh have been approaching various other EU blocs, including the three Baltic states, Scandinavia and newcomers to the EU such as Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic. Asked if like EU president Donald Tusk, he dreamt of turning back the clock on Brexit, Rutte said: 'We all share that dream'.  More >

European court tears up bankruptcy deal

Anglophile Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte ‘hates Brexit from every angle’ The European Court of Justice on Thursday ruled in favour of four daycare workers sacked in a pre-packed bankruptcy deal. The case was brought by the FNV trade union representing the four who lost their jobs when daycare group Estro went bust in 2014 and restarted immediately as Smallsteps. In total, 1,000 of the 3,800 members of staff lost their jobs. A pre-pack deal allows companies to restructure and prepare a restart as part of the bankruptcy process but has been condemned for leaving staff and suppliers in the lurch. Unions say it is often used by companies as a way to force through a reorganisation. The court, which had been asked to rule on the situation by a lower Dutch court, said that workers involved in a pre-pack bankruptcy should keep the same rights as in a normal takeover. In the pre-pack set-up they often end up with worse pay and conditions and only a small financial settlement if made redundant. Claim The court ruling means all Estro staff are officially employed by Smallsteps because 'European law takes precedence' labour law professor Evert Verhulp told news agency ANP. 'However, to claim back pay, they should have made it clear that they wanted to continue in their jobs. That does apply to the four who went to court. The others will be able to apply for a golden handshake but it is unclear if Smallsteps will be able to pay.' Other companies which have used the pre-pack bankruptcy construction include McGregor, prawn processor Heiploeg, travel agency Neckermann, lingerie retailer Marlies Dekker and the Free Record Shop. 'This ruling means that the pre-pack is no longer an attractive way to reorganise and get rid of staff and secondary benefits cheaply,' FNV deputy chairman Kitty Jong said in a statement. 'Up to today, workers had no rights if a company went bust.'  More >

Battle breaks out for UK's EU agencies

Anglophile Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte ‘hates Brexit from every angle’ The Netherlands is one of more than 20 EU member states which have put themselves forward as the new location for either the European Banking Authority and the European Medicines Agency when they move out of London, the Financieele Dagblad said on Thursday. The selection process will be a test of the new EU, the paper said. The Netherlands has set its sights on the EMA, saying Amsterdam is a top location due to its accessibility and plentiful accommodation for both staff and visitors - the EMA receives tens of thousands of visitors each year. Other contenders for the EMA include Barcelona, Copenhagen, Lille, Milan and Vienna. However there is a strong lobby from eastern Europe which argues the independent EU agencies should go to the newer member states. The European Commission has promised to use 'objective criteria' in determining where the agencies should go. There is also disagreement over the voting procedures: should it be consensus or a complicated three rounds of voting?  'Counting on consensus is counting on a miracle,' one high EU diplomat warned. Amsterdam is grappling with a shortage of suitable housing and international school places, both of which are likely to be key issues in the competition to house the agency. The government has recently pledged to invest €11m in expanding the number of international school places in both the capital and The Hague. Sources told the FD earlier that officials will offer help in finding housing and school places but that the government is not going to offer financial help with housing or other benefits to attract EMA staff.  More >

Banks to cut back on analysts reports

Anglophile Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte ‘hates Brexit from every angle’ The number of analysts in the Netherlands has fallen by 12% since 2011, the Financieele Dagblad said on Thursday. In 2016, there were only 74 full-time analysts working for Dutch banks, down from 146 ten years earlier. In addition, banks are set to cut back 30% on spending for analysts' stock reports as a result of new EU regulations which come into effect on 1 January, the paper said on Thursday. Consultancy McKinsey said the 10 biggest banks in the world, which now spend $4bn a year for the reports, will cut this figure by $1.2bn next year. Smaller banks will follow suit in reducing their staff. The European Commission has said the costs of analysts' research  - now hidden in commissions charged on stock trades - must be more transparent. McKinsey said hundreds of research jobs will be lost as clients of the banks, such as portfolio managers and other investors, will have to pay separately for the service from next January.  Many, the consultancy says, will be more selective and opt to receive fewer reports.  More >

NL fares well on Europe innovative list

Anglophile Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte ‘hates Brexit from every angle’ The Netherlands is the fifth most innovative country in Europe, surpassing Germany for the first time, according to a list published by the European Commission on Tuesday. The top six countries on the Commission's list are at least 20% more innovative than the European average, the Financieele Dagblad said on Wednesday. Switzerland tops the list with a score 64.6% higher than the European average, followed by Sweden, Denmark, Finland and the Netherlands which registered a score 29.5% above the European average. The Commission's study also revealed that Europe is less innovative than Australia, Canada, Japan, South Korea and the US. China is quickly catching up. All these countries spend more on innovation than the Netherlands, the paper noted. Read the report on the Netherlands   More >