Coalition talks fail - again
This morning's papers are dominated by the news that Senator Uri Rosenthal's second attempt to forge a new coalition cabinet has failed. However, the paper's view it quite differently; for some, it's a case of one door closing and three others opening but others see it as all the doors being slammed, locked, and the keys tossed into the nearest canal.
"Formation talks hopelessly deadlocked," headlines De Telegraaf on its front-page and adds underneath, "Purple-plus fails and Cohen dooms national unity talks before they start".
The right-wing paper says the search for a new cabinet is beginning to look a little desperate; exploratory talks on forming a cabinet with the liberal VVD, Labour, democrats D66 and GreenLeft failed yesterday and Labour leader Job Cohen has already ruled out a cabinet with the VVD and the Christian Democrat CDA. De Telegraaf says the latest developments put negotiator Uri Rosenthal and VVD leader Mark Rutte back to square one.
AD has a similarly bleak view of the situation, "two weeks after the election and prospects for a new cabinet are nowhere in sight," says the paper and (presumably just in case anyone was so wrapped up in football that they forgot what we don't have a government) gives its readers a list of the failures thus far: "Option one: Right-wing cabinet: failed. Option two: Left-right cabinet: failed. Option three: National unity cabinet: failed. Option four: Is there an option four?"
Trouw sees a silver lining in the thunderclouds of failure: "The astonishing rapidity of the failure of the coalition talks brings hidden prospects," says the paper. Trouw is of the opinion that because the parties didn't actually get around to talking about policies, negotiations can be restarted and compromises discussed and firmly says, "All coalition variations are still possible".
Geert Wilders, leader of the far-right Freedom Party (PVV), also sees a glimmer of silver on the horizon and tells AD, "Thank goodness that the horrendous option of a left-leaning cabinet is off the table. I'm ready to go back to the negotiating table, right now".
Huge cuts to health service predicted
De Volkskrant looks ahead to possible cuts to the health care budget and says the measures already passed by the last cabinet are mild when compared to what's on the cards for the future. The left-wing paper says caretaker Health Minister Ab Klink will send a series of austerity measures to parliament on Monday that will make the last round of cuts look positively generous.
"Scrapping the pill and the rollator was just the beginning: health care professor predicts draconian cuts to health care budget," headlines AD under a photo of a group of old people clutching their walking frames. Guus Schrijvers, a health care professor and government adviser, tells the populist paper, "there are black clouds hanging over the Netherlands; scrapping the pill and the rollator was just the beginning. It's possible that hospital patients will soon have to pay 25 euros a day for their meals".
Professor Schrijvers predicts that crutches, walkers, antidepressants and dental care for young people between 18 and 22 will all be scrapped from the basic health care package and says a number of senior civil servants have also proposed reintroducing fees for prescriptions and visits to the GP.
De Volkskrant reports that the Socialist Party (SP) and special interest groups are vehemently opposed to the cutbacks. One SP MP tells the paper " if these cuts are pushed through, people will wait until it's really serious before they go to the doctors. In the long run, it will be more expensive".
Freeze-drying latest trend in eco-friendly funerals
I'm not sure if it's coincidence but de Volkskrant publishes an article about the latest trends in environmentally friendly funerals opposite its article on healthcare cuts. A leading Dutch funeral organisation wants to introduce two new corpse disposal methods to the Netherlands.
At the moment, the government only allows burial, cremation and leaving your body to science but Yarden hopes to introduced resomation and lyophilisation as soon as the law is changed.
Basically, lyophilisation freeze-dries corpses and resomation is a water/alkali method that reduces a corpse to its component minerals.
A Yarden spokesperson tells the paper, "the benefits to the environment are huge; neither method produces any carbon dioxide as is the case with cremation, or puts toxic chemicals into the ground as the case with burial".
Bavaria babes freed
De Telegraaf's front page has a large photograph of the Bavaria babes leaving a Johannesburg court on Monday; both of them have huge smiles, large bunches of flowers and are clutching their Dutch passports firmly.
The paper says the charges against the two women, who were arrested following the Netherlands-Denmark match last week and charged with taking part in ambush advertising, were dropped after Dutch brewery Bavaria made a deal with FIFA, the world football federation.
AD also puts the photo of the Bavaria babes on the front page and says the pair were, "extremely relieved when the charges were dropped".
High expectations for team Orange's next match
All of the papers look ahead to the Netherlands match against Cameroon tomorrow, even though the Dutch don't have to win to get through to the next round. De Telegraaf speculates that coach Bert van Marwijk will introduce changes to the starting line-up so that players who have already been booked don't risk a second yellow card and a ban for the quarterfinals.
Astonishingly, a few other sports get a look in and Trouw has a photo of Robin Haase celebrating his first-round victory at Wimbledon. However, the tennis coverage is doomed to be short lived as Haase has drawn world number one Rafael Nadal in his second round match and his chances of victory are slim to none.