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Dutch News
Coalition talks to start with VVD PvdA combo, leaders agree 9/16/2012
Coalition talks to start with VVD PvdA combo, leaders agree

Talks on forming a new Dutch coalition cabinet began on Friday with party leaders making their positions clear on likely coalitions to mediator Henk Kamp. Prime minister Mark Rutte told reporters after his 45-minute meeting that, given the results of the election, he suggested Kamp first look at a cabinet involving both the VVD and PvdA. The VVD and Labour (PvdA) emerged as the big winners in Wednesday''s vote, with 41 and 38 seats respectively in the 150-seat parliament. Rutte admitted it will be a ''complicated'' formation process but said ''the voter has spoken''. During the campaign, Rutte said repeatedly a coalition with the PvdA was a long way off and accused the party of being a danger to the Netherlands. The differences between the two parties are great, but the Netherlands is in a difficult economic situation, he said. Given that, and the crisis in Europe, it is important to quickly put together a stable cabinet, the caretaker prime minister told Nos radio. Rutte said other parties could be involved in the coalition, which may also be better for stability and for support in the upper house of parliament. Rutte also repeated earlier statements that he will not support a coalition involving both the PvdA and the Socialist Party. Labour leader Diederik Samsom also told Kamp he favoured first looking at a VVD PvdA coalition. ‘There needs to be a widely supported idea about how to proceed with this formation,’ he told reporters after the meeting. Geert Wilders, the biggest loser in Wednesday’s vote, spoke to Kamp for just 10 minutes. ‘I am going to take a tough line in opposing the dreadful policies that are undoubtably on their way,’ he told reporters afterwards. Support for Wilders'' anti-Islam PVV fell by over 40%.

Farmers protest at Albert Heijn pricing policy

A number of angry farmers gathered outside the headquarters of Albert Heijn on Friday in protest at the supermarket group’s pressure on them to cut prices. Albert Heijn sent all suppliers a letter on Monday saying it planned to cut payments to suppliers by 2% from later this month. ‘Albert Heijn is abusing its market position,’ Frank Donkers of the Dutch pig farmers association NVV told Nos radio. A discount of 2% would cost an average family-run pig farm between €20,000 and €30,000 a year, he said. ''This is more than the profit we make at the moment.'' The protest is supported by farming organisation LTO which has called for talks with the supermarket group. The LTO has also asked the competition authority NMa to look into Albert Heijn’s action. Unions are also concerned about the new pricing structure and its effect on jobs, Nos said

Shopping around does not benefit your wallet

Consumers who shop in different supermarkets to keep costs down end up spending more money, news agency ANP reports on Thursday, quoting new research. The research, by economist Marc Vroegrijk, found that 60 to 80% of people shop at different supermarkets in search of bargains. Vroegrijk found that although consumers bought individual products at a lower price, exposure to the other wares on sale meant they ended up buying more than they would have done on a visit to just one shop.

All dogs to be microchipped

Dog breeders are to be required by law to have a microchip inserted in every puppy within seven weeks of their birth, ministers agreed on Friday. The chip will include information about the owner’s name and address which will be stored in a data bank, according to a cabinet statement. The aim of the plan is to try to eradicate problems in the dog breeding industry and identify the owners of dogs which have been abandoned or neglected. Some 70% of dogs are now given a chip on a voluntary basis. The measure is likely to be implemented from 2013.

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