This morning the families of the victims of the MH17 disaster were briefed by the Joint Investigation Team on the initial findings of the criminal investigation into the downing of flight MH17. These findings concern the weapon used to down flight MH17, the location from which it was fired and the Buk missile system’s route of transport.
On 6 april 2016 an advisory referendum was held in the Netherlands on the EU-association agreement with Ukraine. The preliminary outcome shows that the required threshold for a valid outcome of a turn-out of 30% or more was reached, with a clear majority for the people who voted against.
Foreign minister Bert Koenders and travel expert Floortje Dessing have launched a new central helpline for travellers. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs can now be reached 24 hours a day, seven days a week at +31 247 247 247 for practical travel tips and assistance. Travellers abroad can also contact the Ministry online and via Twitter. It is estimated that about 3,000 people per day will use the new services.
The European Commission is visiting Amsterdam to mark the start of the Dutch Presidency of the EU Council. On 7 January 2016 Prime Minister Mark Rutte will receive the members of the European Commission at the National Maritime Museum.
There will be a new deadline for the NFP tailor-made training programme on 15 February 2016. See also: www.nuffic.nl/tmt The procedure for applications and proposals will be generally the same as for the deadline of 1 April 2015. Co-funding will be appreciated, but for this call it is not compulsory.
Ladies and gentlemen, the nightmare that unfolded in Paris last night is still reverberating loudly – in France and around the world – and at present the picture is still unclear. At this point, so soon after the attacks, the dominant emotions are of anger and disgust. What we know at this time is that perhaps as many as 140 innocent people have been killed in the most cold-blooded, barbaric and cowardly manner imaginable. Many dozens more are in hospital, severely wounded. Everything points to a well-planned and tightly organised attack, responsibility for which has now been claimed by ISIS. The spine-chilling reality of these attacks is now starting to sink in.
The world has seen a considerable reduction in extreme poverty since the turn of the century. Yet the gap between rich and poor has widened. Greater inequality prevents people from building a decent life, stunts economic growth and leads to conflict – on top of the violence that has already forced more than 60 million people worldwide to abandon their homes. In her policy agenda for 2016, foreign trade and development minister Lilianne Ploumen shows an even greater commitment to curbing the downward spiral.
According to Minister of Foreign Affairs Bert Koenders, ‘There are no quick fixes for today’s challenges: we will have to work long and hard, at international level, to find permanent solutions to the sources of conflict around us.’ The Minister made these remarks in his 2016 policy agenda, adding, ‘This will require dynamic and flexible diplomacy, choices and innovative use of resources, as well as collaboration in old and new coalitions. International diplomacy is working at full capacity, which puts a lot of strain on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but it is vital for our security and prosperity.’
On the third Tuesday in September (Prince's Day), the Minister of Finance presents the National Budget and the Budget Memorandum to the House of Representatives.