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You get up in the morning and drive to work. After work you drive to the supermarket to buy some food and maybe you will take your car out again later for a visit to a friend.

In order to reduce CO2 emissions, the Dutch Government will be following this every move. A new and very innovative Road Pricing Scheme will be introduced in 2012 and is expected to reduce the costs for 59% of all drivers. So logically, around 60% of all drivers should greatly favour this new scheme. Notwithstanding the fact of course that the satellites connected to the device installed in your car will be able to monitor where you are going and when…

In addition, there is little doubt that the police will also be given access to this data. After all, knowing exactly where citizens are is in the interests of state safety and the citizens themselves. Isn’t it?

The obligation for European citizens to have their fingerprints in their passports and identity cards has, in the country’s aspirations to be a leader in this area, already been implemented by the Netherlands in September of this year.

As the only EU Member State to do this so far, the Netherlands is storing all this data in a central national database which can be consulted by the Public Prosecutor. Nonetheless, the protection of this database cannot, as the Government has admitted, be 100% guaranteed. But hey, that is just a detail. Right?

The main aim of storing all these fingerprints is to combat identity-fraud, terrorism, and illegal immigration. But would it really make you feel comfortable knowing that all your data is stored in one large database? Getting access to this giant database of data which we are creating in the Netherlands will no doubt be a new “holy grail” for hackers, terrorists, and criminals. If it really is in the interests of the people that their fingerprints are stored, should they not be able to decide for themselves whether or not their fingerprint scans are put on a database?

Taking these big-brother aspirations of the Dutch into consideration, The Lobby’s Dutch contingent is hoping that they will not be putting forward a Commissioner for the portfolio of Justice and Home Affairs!

– Lieneke

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Have you seen my Ray Bans?

Have you seen my Ray Bans?

Although the Dutch Government has just bought enough vaccines to protect its entire population from swine flu, politicians may be regretting that there are still some unwelcome elements from which you can’t protect yourself.

After a massive expenses scandal led to an exodus of ministers and high ranking politicians in the UK, the Netherlands now appears to be following suit. Finance Minister Wouter Bos, still recovering from his Labour party’s drubbing in the European elections when they lost 4 of its 7 seats, appears to have billed to the taxpayer his lost Ray Ban sunglasses, worth €113.

Transport Minister Camiel Eurlings, a Christian Democrat, has included on his expenses form his stay at the expensive Kurhaus hotel during the renovation of his official residence.

Compared with UK politicians’ expenses, the revelations across the North Sea seem quite innocent for the moment, but with Dutch politicians’ credit card expenses about to be made public, more revelations are sure to follow!

– Lieneke

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Voting in the EU elections began yesterday, with the UK and the Netherlands first out of the blocks.  Voting takes place on the traditional day of voting in the country, hence different countries vote on different days.  This of course means that the UK and Netherlands will have to wait for three full days before the results are announced (will the UK still have a government by then?)

Voting in the UK – at least for the EU elections – has always been a ridiculously low-key affair, and this year was no exception.  You had to dig a little to get the latest news in the national newspapers, though one story courtesy of the BBC told how some ballot papers had apparently been difficult to unfold, thereby obscuring the parties at the bottom of the list – including everyone’s favourite eurosceptics, UKIP.  Never one to shy away from publicity, the party are said to be considering a legal challenge.

Apart from that, the headlines in the UK are currently revolving around Cabinet Ministers resigning amid rumours that Gordon Brown’s position as leader is about to be made untenable.  The election results may provide his detractors with another excuse to lambast the man who had to wait 10 years to become Prime Minister, only to fail miserably once given the chance.

– Rob

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