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Dutch report Dutch report
by Euro Reporter
2008-04-01 08:48:38
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Breaking the ties over the film

International protests following the launch of MP Geert Wilders’ anti-Koran film last week continued over the weekend, with Jordanian MPs calling for a diplomatic break with the Netherlands. ‘Fifty-three of the 110 deputies signed a petition and presented it to Prime Minister Nader Dahabi demanding the government expel the Dutch ambassador to Jordan and sever diplomatic ties,’ MP Ali Dalain told the Gulf Daily News.

In Indonesia, a group of some 40 hard-line Muslims gathered outside the Dutch embassy in Jakarta on Monday, calling for the death of Geert Wilders for insulting Islam with his anti-Koran film. The Islamic Defenders Front is a small group which has held violent protests against western targets in the past. The Indonesian government condemned the film shortly after its release last week. Indonesia, a former Dutch colony, is the most populous Muslim nation. Iran’s foreign minister on Sunday summoned the Dutch ambassador and a senior diplomat from Slovenia, which currently chairs the European Union.

However, the Netherlands later said the meeting had been called at its initiative. And in Pakistan, security around the Dutch consulate and Dutch companies in Karachi has been tightened. Australia has also condemned the film. ‘We believe in the right to freedom of expression but we don’t believe in abusing that right to incite racial hatred,’ foreign minister Stephen Smith is reported as saying.

And we just have to …wait and see when Dutch flags will start burning again all around the Middle East.

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Corporate head-quarters

The strong position of the Netherlands as the location for corporate head-quarters is under threat, warns the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) in a report presented to the economic affairs ministry on Monday.

A new approach is needed if the country is to keep the 30 head-offices it currently has and which pump €13bn into the Dutch economy, says the consultancy firm. It also needs to attract new companies to the country. The Netherlands must select specific sectors in which it wants to build up a position and then dedicate an area to these, the report says.

An example of this is Food Valley around the agricultural university in Wageningen where firms involved in food technology could be further concentrated. ‘But this does call for long-term thinking and until now that has been lacking in industrial policy,’ BCG director Emile Gostelie says in today’s NRC Handelsblad.

The global head-offices of 16 of the world’s 500 biggest companies are situated in the Netherlands as well as 14 European head-quarters, giving the country ‘an above average’ share of this market, says the BCG.

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15% in three years

Supermarket prices have gone up 15% in the last three years according to research commissioned by the newspaper Dagblad van het Noorden. Last week the shops lowered the cost of groceries for the first time since 2005, the paper says.

It seems that after the change from the local currency to euro all the European countries have to deal with exactly the same problem.


   
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Emanuel Paparella2008-04-01 10:10:17
Indeed the Dutch have the reputation of being very liberal and free-thinking and tolerant of other cultures, in theory. In practice they are the same ones who colonized South Africa and invented Apartheid. Indeed, the issue is not as simple and clear cut as it may appear at first sight.


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