Eveline Herfkens to work for free for one year:
Someone facing a significant pay cut this year is former Development Cooperation Minister Eveline Herfkens who has announced that for one year she will work for the United Nations for the symbolic sum of just one dollar. Her gesture is the upshot of a scandal in which she received funds from the Dutch government towards her accommodation in New York, against the rules of the UN. Her refusal to pay the money back caused something of a stink.
"As far as I'm concerned, the case is now closed" says Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen in de Volkskrant, admitting that legal action to recover the money would have been pointless since Herfkens "has done nothing illegal".
Not everyone agrees, however. The paper quotes one irate VVD MP who says "Every Dutch person who wrongfully receives a subsidy should be made to pay back every penny with interest" while a Socialist MP interprets the former minister's willingness to work for nothing as "an indirect admission of guilt".
De Telegraaf's editorial lambasts everyone concerned. "It's a typical wishy-washy political deal: everyone is responsible so no one is guilty." The paper goes on "That sum of EUR 190,000 was forked out by the Dutch taxpayers. And how exactly do they benefit from having Herfkens doing a spot of charity work in the bureaucratic jungle of the UN?"