Maltese government accuses Dutch EU rapporteur of 'partiality'

The Maltese government has accused Dutch MP Pieter Omzigt who is investigating the handling of the murder of Maltese journalist Daphne Galizia, of ‘partiality’ following a critical first report into the matter. However, the request by MP Manuel Mallia to have Omtzigt replaced as a European council rapporteur was rejected, the Times of Malta reported. So, on the record, 'the government [of Malta] is disappointed that the Parliamentary Assembly did not take the opportunity to review my rapporteurship [on the assassination of Daphne Carurana Galizia] an appoint someone who can be trusted to be independent, impartial... (1) — Pieter Omtzigt (@PieterOmtzigt) September 12, 2018 Galizia, an investigative journalist who wrote a much-read blog on corruption in her country which frequently involved politicians, was killed by a car bomb near her home in 2017. The Maltese government has ruled out that the murder could be connected to criticism of the government but questions have been raised by Europe's law enforcement body Europol about the Maltese government’s willingness to cooperate with the investigation into her death. In May three men were arrested in connection with her death but they have denied any involvement. The search for the perpetrators is ongoing. In his report, Omtzigt found that the Maltese state of law and the murder inquiry itself were seriously flawed and that conflicts of interest touched people in high places, including the prime minister, RTL Nieuws writes. Omzigt, who is preparing for another visit to the island, said he cannot imagine the Maltese government will refuse him access into the country. ‘They are under an obligation to  cooperate and that is what I am counting on,’ he told RTL.  More >

Discovery shifts jobs to Amsterdam

Discovery has become the latest international broadcast group to move European operations to the Netherlands following Britain's decision to pull out of the EU. Discovery has had a Dutch base since 1989 but has now applied for EU licences for its paid channel portfolio through the Netherlands. 'This decision ensures continuity of our services for the view across Europe,' the company said in a statement. 'This change means a number of new roles will be created in Amsterdam and a number of roles will move from London to Amsterdam.' Until now international broadcasters have favoured London as a base for pan-European operations because they can use UK licences to provide services across the EU region, but that will end after Brexit. The BBC is also said to be in talks with Dutch and Irish broadcast authorities to obtain licenses which would allow it to continue broadcasting across the EU. In September, British online sports channel DAZN said it is opening a new development centre in Amsterdam as part of its plan to become the ‘Netflix of sports’ and protect its operations from the impact of Brexit. Viacom International has also obtained a Dutch licence for its channels aimed at France and Denmark.  More >

No-deal Brexit will cost Dutch €34bn

A no-deal Brexit will cost the Netherlands at least €34bn up to 2030, the equivalent of €164 per resident per year, according to calculations by economic research bureau SEO for economics magazine ESB and quoted by the Financieele Dagblad. The researchers reach their conclusion by combining the various estimates about the impact of a chaotic exit which have been made to date, the FD said. The national audit office, for example, says when Britain leaves the EU, the Netherlands will have to pay an extra €1.25bn in 2021 to shore up the EU budget. That, combined with a structural increase of €2.5bn to €3bn a year from 2026 will add €15bn to the bill. But in the case of a no-deal Brexit, the Netherlands will also have to pay an extra €1.6bn in 2019 and 2020. In addition, the Dutch government has set aside €650 to prepare for Brexit, including a major boost in spending on customs services, the audit office said last year. The government's macro-economic planning bureau CPB also estimates that the economy will take a €10bn hit because of the introduction of tariffs and other trade issues. But with a deal, the cost to the Dutch economy and taxpayer will only be €7.5bn, the CPB says. Close links Experts say the impact of Brexit on the Netherlands will be larger than in many other countries because of the close trading links between the two. The International Monetary Fund said last July that should Britain pull out of the EU without any fixed trade deal in place in March, Dutch national income would fall by 0.7%. Only Ireland with a projected fall back of 4% in national income would be worse affected, the IMF said.  More >

NL will take six from migrant rescue ship

The Netherlands is prepared to take a maximum of six of the 32 migrants on board a Dutch flagged rescue ship in the Mediterranean, the Telegraaf has reported. The paper says justice ministry sources say that the Netherlands will take in several people as long as other EU countries divide up the rest between them. The justice ministry confirmed to at the end of December that the Netherlands has asked several countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea for help in finding a harbour for the ship. And a spokesman told AFP this week that 'the Netherlands has indicated a readiness to possibly take in a proportional number of migrants who are on board Sea-Watch 3, on condition that other European countries do the same.' Two weeks The Sea Watch 3, operated by German aid group Sea-Watch, is sailing under the Dutch flag and has been looking for a destination for more than two weeks. Naples mayor Luigi de Magistris said on Thursday that he is prepared to open the port to Sea Watch, despite the position of Italy's right-wing government. 'I hope this boat comes to the port of Naples because unlike what the government says we will put into the field a rescue action and we will let it into the port,' he said. The 32 migrants on board come from Congo, Sudan, Libya and Egypt. Their number includes six minors, three of whom are travelling alone. The ship is currently in international waters off the coast of Libya.  More >