Netherlands. At the recent election in January, the Christian Democratic CDA became the largest party with very little margin before the Labor Party PvdA, which recovered significantly from a strong race in the regular election the year before. Both parties started government negotiations, but the new Labor Party leader Wouter Bos could not agree to the cuts that the Christian Democrats demanded to help the country out of the recession. CDA leader Jan Peter Balkenende had to seek support elsewhere and after long negotiations a mid-right government was formed in May with the Liberal VVD and the small centrist D66. It became the fourth government of the Netherlands in just over a year, including the expedition ministry led by Balkenende since the previous government’s collapse in October 2002. According to Countryaah.com, Netherlands, Independence Day is July 26. The election was a severe setback for last year’s comet on the political arena, the right-wing populist LPF, which collapsed from 26 to 8 seats. The man arrested for the murder of LPF founder Pim Fortuyn was sentenced in April to 18 years in prison. The perpetrator was an animal rights activist who maintained that the xenophobic Fortuyn had posed a danger to democracy.
The new government was facing a tough task as the Netherlands was in a deep economic downturn with sharply increased unemployment and high sickness rates. In September, a swing belt budget was presented with large social cuts and increased taxes. The unions agreed to a two-year halt for wage increases. In January, the government formally assumed responsibility for the failure of Dutch peacekeeping UN soldiers to prevent the massacre of at least 7,000 Muslims in the Bosnian city of Srebrenica in 1995. According to a parliamentary committee decision, the soldiers did not intervene when the Bosnian Serbs attacked the enclave.
An outbreak of bird flu hit the Netherlands in the spring. All export of eggs and chickens was stopped and millions of chickens were slaughtered in an effort to prevent the spread of the virus. The financial losses were estimated to amount to EUR 2 million per day.
The Minister of Justice is fined for corona offenses
Justice Minister Ferd Grapperhaus is sentenced to a fine of 390 euros after he violated current rules on social distancing in connection with his own wedding. Pictures of the Grapperhaus near dozens of other people at the wedding in August have caused a great deal of uproar. Grapperhaus has apologized in Parliament for what happened.
Record GDP fall
The economy shrank by 8.5 percent during the second quarter as a result of the corona pandemic. This is the largest decline recorded, according to the statistical authority, while the situation was even worse in neighboring countries such as Belgium and Germany.
Record-breaking drug factory revealed
Police raid a disused riding school that has been turned into a cocaine laboratory in Nijeveen in the northern Netherlands. The laboratory, which is estimated to be able to produce up to 200 kilos of cocaine a day, to a value of up to SEK 60 million, is the largest found in the country. Seventeen people were arrested, most of whom are said to be Colombian citizens. Organized crime has a large presence in the Netherlands, which was shaken by a lawyer’s murder (see September 2019) and the discovery in July of an advanced torture center in containers in southern Rotterdam.