Dutch sports minister will go to Euro 2012 despite boycott calls

Sports minister Edith Schippers will represent the cabinet at Saturday’s Euro 2012 match between the Netherlands and Denmark despite calls for a boycott, the cabinet decided on Friday.

And should Oranje reach the final, prime minister Mark Rutte will also attend, Schippers told reporters after the weekly cabinet meeting.
Earlier, RTL news reported that neither Mark Rutte nor crown prince Willem-Alexander would attend Dutch matches at the Euro 2012 football championships in Ukraine in protest at the treatment of opposition leader Yulia Tymoschenko.
Tymoschenko, who played a key role in the Orange Revolution in 2004, is serving a seven year jail sentence for corruption. She says her imprisonment is an act of political revenge by Ukraine’s president Viktor Yanukovych and claims she has been mistreated by prison guards.
On Thursday, British government ministers said they will boycott England’s group games in protest at the ‘selective justice’ meted out to Tymoschenko. France has already agreed a boycott and Germany is considering doing so, RTL said.
Foreign minister Uri Rosenthal, who had been against Dutch ministers going to the games, said he was now satisfied that the situation surrounding Tymoschenko had improved. It is also important to note that she does not personally favour a boycott, the minister pointed out.
Schippers declined to say if the prince would attend the final if the Netherlands makes it. ‘That is up to him,’ she is quoted as saying.