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Dutch report Dutch report
by Euro Reporter
2010-10-02 08:25:06
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Netherlands edges towards banning burqa

Two centre-right parties have agreed to ban the burqa in the Netherlands as a price for parliamentary support from the anti-Islam Freedom party for their minority government. Liberals leader Mark Rutte, Christian Democrat leader Maxime Verhagen and Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders announced in a news conference the details of the pact.

In a nod to Wilders, the parties agreed to propose banning the burqa in the Netherlands and tightening immigration rules. Wilders said the measures would cut non-Western immigration by half. The pact still needs approval by a Christian Democrat (CDA) congress on Saturday after the party failed to resolve divisions on whether to rely on support from the Freedom Party during 15 hours of talks on Wednesday.

If the coalition deal is rejected by the CDA, it could prolong a policy deadlock on how to cut the budget deficit from 5.8 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). Prominent members of the CDA have spoken out against working with Wilders, who is on trial for inciting hatred against Muslims, but some now expect the CDA congress to approve the deal even though the outcome is far from certain.

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Dutch right-wing parties near deal on minority government


The Dutch Christian Democrat party (CDA) and right-wing liberals VVD are nearing a deal with anti-Islam party leader Geert Wilders that would allow them to form a government, sources close to the negotiations.

The negotiations have dragged on since elections four months ago failed to produce a decisive majority. The two parties are working on a deal with each other over a program of government, as well as on a deal with Wilders' PVV party over how far it would support the cabinet.

The CDA and VVD are set to present the agreements to their parliamentary groups on Tuesday or Wednesday for approval, before informing Queen Beatrix' official representative on Thursday, Dutch news agency ANP reported.

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Dutch squatters vow to resist ban

Dutch squatters are planning demonstrations in Amsterdam as a new law made squatting illegal. It is the latest of the country's liberal institutions - such as legal prostitution and cafes that openly sell marijuana - to be abolished or cut back as the Dutch rethink the boundaries of their famed tolerance. Now the followers of the movement known in Dutch as "kraken", or "breaking", face up to one year in prison.

"Of course we're going to resist: resisting is part of what we do," said a young woman at an Amsterdam squat. A study by Amsterdam's Free University estimated the number of squatters at roughly 1,500 in the Dutch capital, a city of 750,000. Amsterdam mayor Eberhard van der Laan says he plans to gradually empty the city's remaining 200 squats. "Here and there squatting definitely causes problems for a neighbourhood," he said, but until now it has been seen mostly as a civil dispute between owners and occupants.

Now building owners can argue that squatters are breaking the law, the mayor said. Amsterdam and other Dutch cities remain unusually liberal, even by European standards, but they have gradually moved away from their free-for-all attitudes. Prostitution is legal but has become more regulated, and Amsterdam has shuttered a third of its brothels. The number of marijuana cafes is declining amid new restrictions to distance them from schools. Squatting gained public sympathy after the Second World War during a time of severe housing shortages and anger at property speculators. But views changed as the Netherlands grew more prosperous and more sympathetic to business.


       
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