Dutch Press Review Tuesday 12 June 2012

RNW archive

This article is part of the RNW archive. RNW is the former Radio Netherlands Worldwide or Wereldomroep, which was founded as the Dutch international public broadcaster in 1947. In 2011, the Dutch government decided to cut funding and shift RNW from the ministry of Education, Culture and Science to the ministry of Foreign Affairs. More information about RNW Media’s current activities can be found at https://www.rnw.org/about-rnw-media.

The papers all lead with different stories today, but final plans for a new trade union federation is big news. Muslim extremist violence in Belgium and its fallout in the Netherlands is also covered. And of course, there’s football, soccer and more football, with Euro 2012.[media:factfile]

A divided union
It’s perhaps surprising that it’s Trouw and not the left-leaning daily, de Volkskrant, which leads with the news of problems ahead for the FNV trade union federation. The largest Dutch union federation has decided it must modernise and the final plans for a major shake-up in the organisation were published yesterday.

However, Trouw explains it’s highly unlikely that all 19 unions in the present FNV will agree to the planned changes thrashed out by a committee of five union bigwigs. It says ‘power’ is still the keyword, with the larger unions within the federation complaining that they will be left with diminished clout in the new set-up, while the smaller unions fear they will remain the underdogs.

De Volkskrant too sees little chance of success for the plans for a new FNV federation. It agrees with Trouw that the power struggle between unions with mass membership and their smaller counterparts is set to continue. The paper also points to critics who think the new set-up will lead to a reduction in the power of the federation as a whole.

The papers also pick up on the departure of the leader of the present FNV federation, Agnes Jongerius. She has said that she will resign on 23 June and will not seek a position within the new organisation.

AD tells us she has been at the helm of the FNV for seven years, the first woman to become the boss of the male-dominated union stronghold. It says there doesn’t seem to be much left of the “proud, self-confident” union federation she found when she started in the job. She leaves behind “a divided union movement”, is AD’s conclusion although it stops short of apportioning blame for the situation.

The Sharia question
The front page of de Volkskrant is all about Russian President Putin’s “repression” of the opposition. However, the paper devotes almost all of pages two and three to fighting between Muslim extremists and police in Brussels last Friday – and to the fallout of the incident in the Netherlands.

The trouble in the Belgian capital between “a few dozen Muslims” and the police was apparently “stirred up” by the small radical group, Sharia4Belgium. Its Dutch branch, Sharia4Holland, was recently in the news for violently disrupting a debate in the Netherlands.

Friday’s incident in Brussels culminated in two policemen being stabbed by a French Muslim extremist, according to de Volkskrant. It says local residents, many of them immigrants, are sick of both the negative publicity afforded by the incident and of Sharia4Belguim.

De Volkskrant also reports on calls for a Sharia Council to be set up in the Netherlands. It would “advise on Muslim family matters”.

One supporter of the idea explains that, without a ruling from this kind of council, it is more or less impossible for women married under Islamic law to get a divorce without the consent of the man. Although it wouldn’t officially be a Sharia court, a women’s group tells de Volkskrant that creating the council would “institutionalise the inequality of women”. The paper points out that a majority of MPs are against setting up a Sharia Council.

Euro 2012 – the financial aspects
On its front page, AD reports that tickets for tomorrow’s Euro 2012 Holland-Germany match are going for a song. The internet is full of last-minute offers of tickets – normal price 30 to 120 euros – going for a fraction of the price.

Many fans have been put off making the journey to Ukraine by the surprise defeat of the Dutch team by Denmark last week and now want to sell their tickets for the next game - against the more formidable opponent, Germany.

Today’s nrc.next covers another financial aspect of Euro 2012: “The crisis is forgotten during European Championships – a good TV is simply a must”, reads its headline. Apparently, retailers expect a 17-percent increase in the sales of television sets during Euro 2012.

The paper warns, though, that sales will only meet expectations if the Dutch side does well. “If the Dutch win, televisions sell like hot cakes,” an insider tells the paper. “The first person to jump up cheering on the sofa if Wesley Sneijder scores is the director of an electronics business.”

Euro 2012 – the football
There’s very little featured on the front page of De Telegraaf besides the football. The paper’s readers have spoken, and they want Klaas-Jan Huntelaar to lead the Dutch attack against “arch-rivals” Germany tomorrow. “Hunter on the attack” reads the headline.

In De Telegraaf’s dream line-up, the star striker is followed by Robin van Persie and Wesley Sneijder, while Mark van Bommel is dropped from the team. The paper says 15,000 of its readers believe only this drastic change to the Dutch squad can lead to victory over Germany. We’ll see.

Read more about the Holland-Germany match