The European Commission delivers its report on how the Dutch economy is doing – the papers are gloomy. An Amsterdam child abuse has global fallout, our lads are on the way to Euro 2012 and a toilet embarrasses a prince.
Reviewed Dutch dailies
‘Advice’ from Brussels
As far as de Volkskrant’s concerned, he’s the “Budget Tsar”: European Commissioner Olli Rehn is pictured slap bang in the middle of its front page. He has presented all the European Union members states with lists of financial-economic ‘recommendations’ designed to get their fiscal houses in order, and the Netherlands is no exception.
The paper points out that, if a country refuses to follow the recommendations and because of this its budget “becomes derailed”, Mr Rehn can impose massive fines. In the case of the Netherlands, these could range up to 1.2 billion euros.
Mr Rehn has ‘advised’ the Netherlands to implement reforms in the pensions system, healthcare, the jobs market, the housing market, and to encourage innovation – and not just in the nine areas of business the country has dubbed its top sectors.
Trouw treats us to a pretty map of the EU on its front page. Well, maybe it’s not so pretty when you see the large red strips representing the towering debt owed by all the member states. The paper thinks Mr De Jager should indeed be worried.
“Brussels has doubts about Spring Accord”, reads Trouw’s headline, referring to the hasty deal done with three opposition parties by the government just after it fell. The deal sets out savings of 12.4 billion euros to be made from yet more cuts and reforms which should bring the 2013 budget deficit down to the three-percent limit.
“Brussels puts the Netherlands across its knee” is AD’s take on the story, which it relegates to page seven. It says Mr Rehn “is forcing our country to introduce more reforms”. It says his tough analysis of the Dutch economy concludes that, without far-reaching reforms, our economy will drop further and further behind.
Global child abuse network
Mr Rehn and the European Commission don’t appear to feature at all in today’s De Telegraaf. Instead, its front page is dominated by the news that the global child pornography network around Robert M (no last name given for privacy reasons - despite the fact that it is easy to find elsewhere) has been dismantled.
The Amsterdam crèche worker was found guilty last month of systematically abusing dozens of very young children and producing and distributing child porn via the internet. De Telegraaf tells us that information on his computer has led to 508 child pornography cases being uncovered around the world “in which children were subjected to horrific abuse”.
Trouw doesn’t get to the story till page seven. “Three hard disks full of horrifying information” is its headline, describing the mass of incriminating evidence investigators found on Robert M’s computer.
The paper sketches the enormously complicated job investigators had sifting through the huge amount of data. Chat sessions on subjects such as how best abusers could escape detection were done using aliases – there were 1,100 such fake names.
Trouw says the Amsterdam investigation has led to child porn cases coming to light in 52 countries. So far 13 people have been arrested in the Netherlands and 20 in five other countries, while 138 children are no longer being abused. The investigations and prosecutions continue.
AD has the real news on its front page: the Netherlands beat Slovakia 2-0 last night. The paper says Ibrahim Afellay inspired Holland as he returned to the international game – we’re talking football, by the way.
The paper reckons the Dutch squad is “a mix of individualists and team players” just as in the South Africa World Cup. With only one and a half weeks to go before the Euro 2012 kick-off, the only question is whether they “can peak as they did then”.
De Telegraaf also finds a corner of its front page for news of the soccer win, which it says was “richly deserved”. After the fiasco of two recent defeats at the hands of Bayern Munich and Bulgaria, it was high time for a win, is its rather obvious comment.
On an inside page, nrc.next does its best to dampen the fever of national football enthusiasm. In a long opinion piece on Euro 2012, it decries the fact that “riskless, result-orientated football is once again in the ascendant”.
It says it was for good reason that even the advent of David Beckham couldn’t whip up interest in the game in the US. Apparently, they just find it boring, all those guys passing the ball between themselves for minutes at a time.
Toilets and the prince
An undignified photograph of Crown Prince Willem-Alexander graces the front page of AD today. His royal highness is snapped just after he has flung a bright orange toilet pot towards the camera.
He was taking part in a light-hearted contest (which he won) during this year’s Queen’s Day festivities in the town of Rhenen. Speaking at a conference on sustainability yesterday, he apparently let the audience know he has had second thoughts about whether taking part in the toilet-throwing contest was appropriate:
“It can’t be squared with the fact that a large section of the world’s population has no access to adequate sanitation.”