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NL Cabinet Rutte resigns following childcare benefit scandal
On Friday the 15th of January, Prime Minister Mark Rutte (VVD) has offered the resignation of his Cabinet to King Willem-Alexander, following a parliamentary report on a childcare benefit scandal, involving parents who were wrongly accused of defrauding the childcare benefit system. In the report “Unprecedented Injustice”, a Parliamentary Inquiry Committee concluded, among other things, that fundamental principles of the rule of law were violated by the Dutch Tax Authority. Legislative implementation to fight fraud leading to these violations was not sufficiently overseen by several Cabinet members, which is now one of the reasons for the Cabinet to resign. The consequences of the resignation - particularly for the way in which the outgoing Cabinet will deal with the COVID-crisis - will become clear in the next few days. What happened!? The childcare benefit scandal is a political affair in which approximately 26,000 parents became unjustly victim of suspected fraud with the childcare allowance and/or became victims of a hard fraud approach by the Tax Administration. The result was that many of these parents found themselves in significant financial difficulty, in some cases even bankruptcy and uncertainty for many years. Many families were pursued for fraud before the courts, ordered to repay benefits and denied the right for appeal from 2012 on. This came to light in September 2018 and subsequently led to the resignation of state secretary of Finance Menno Snel (D66). Current Prime Minister Mark Rutte (VVD) was head of the ministerial committee against fraud at that time. Current minister of Economic Affairs Eric Wiebes (VVD) was state secretary for Finance. The Parliamentary Inquiry Committee reports he misinformed the House of Representatives about the issue. In addition, Lodewijk Asscher (PvdA), then minister for Social Affairs and currently opposition leader of the Social Democrats in the House of Representatives, was also held responsible. Asscher announced on January 14 to resign over the affair as political leader for the upcoming elections. The government has apologized and in 2020 set aside compensation of over 500 million euros.   Caretaker Cabinet When Prime Minister Rutte – who said earlier this week that the VVD was to oppose dissolving the current coalition - has offered the resignation of his Cabinet to the King, his Cabinet becomes a so-called caretaker cabinet. A caretaker Cabinet with currently four ruling parties, has the same powers as a regular cabinet. When the Prime Minister offers the resignation of his cabinet, the King asks the Prime Minister "to do whatever is deemed necessary in the interest of the Kingdom". In practice, this means that the Cabinet only deals with "current affairs" - policies that are urgent and not controversial. It is the House of Representatives that decides what is urgent and not controversial. The House already would have ended its formal session on February 12 due to the upcoming national elections and campaign recess. It seems likely that in the coming months the focus of the Cabinet remains primarily on COVID-related issues and that most other topics will be declared controversial. Prior to today’s resignation, opposition parties PvdA and GroenLinks have already announced to support a caretaker Cabinet fighting the COVID-pandemic.   Elections on 17 March 2021  When a Prime Minister offers the resignation of his cabinet to the King, new elections need to be held no later than three months after the King has signed the so-called dissolution decree. Since the elections were already scheduled for 17 March 2021 and this date falls within this three-month period, this date is expected to be maintained. After the elections, the Cabinet will maintain a caretaker status until a cabinet is formed. Which parties will form a new Cabinet depends on the election results. Thus far the VVD of Prime Minister Mark Rutte, the PVV/Party for Freedom of Geert Wilders and the CDA/Christian Democrats with the new political leader Wopke Hoekstra, are doing well in the polls (see below).   The ”controversial” decision making process in the House   Poll #seats (“Peilingwijzer” - I&O Research, Ipsos/EenVandaag & Kantar, 23/12/’20)     Please note that the process described in here is based on a traditional caretaker cabinet situation. The need for managing the COVID-crisis by a strong government might lead to unprecedented political alternative options. These options will become clearer the upcoming days.   Public Matters    
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The Swedish coronavirus laws you need to know about in 2021
Pandemic law One of the biggest changes was the introduction of this wide-ranging law, which came into effect on January 10th and gives the government powers to introduce certain measures if needed to curb the spread of the coronavirus. The measures introduced so far under the new law include a legal limit on the maximum number of people allowed in shops and sports facilities (one per every 10 square metres of usable space) and a maximum limit for all events, including some private events (no more than eight people). Under the new law, the government would be able in future to introduce more measures, ranging from limits on the numbers that can gather at public parks or beaches to closing down shops, restaurants, or public transport completely. The law is currently in force until September 30th, 2021.   Turnover-based government support for sole traders If you are a sole trader and have lost income due to the pandemic, you can apply for government support. In order to be eligible, you should have had a turnover of at least 200,000 kronor (approximately $24,100) the previous year, and not have received unemployment benefits. Eligible sole traders can receive support to cover up to 75 percent of the lost turnover, up to a maximum of 120,000 kronor. You can apply for support to cover the periods March-April, May, June-July 2020, and the government has proposed extending this to January-February 2021. At the moment, the deadline for applications is January 31st, 2021. Find out more about this support and how to apply from , and fill in your application at .   Annual general meetings adjusted If you are involved in a registered company or association in Sweden, including housing associations (bostadsrättsföreningar) there is a legal obligation to hold an annual general meeting (stämma) and this usually has to be held in person. During the Covid-19 pandemic, a temporary law gives boards the possibility to reduce the number of people present, for example by holding the meeting online or via postal voting instead, which is not usually allowed. It has been extended beyond the original end date of December 31st, 2020, and now will continue to apply until the end of 2021.   Read about all new laws here https://www.thelocal.se/20210111/coronavirus-law-changes-to-expect-in-2021 Source The Local      
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Negative COVID-19 test result and declaration on arrival in the Netherlands

You are required to show a negative COVID-19 test result if you are travelling to the Netherlands from most countries. If you are coming from a country outside the EU/Schengen area, you are also required to present a negative test declaration bearing your signature.

  Read more about travelling to the Netherlands from abroad at
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Ban on entry into Sweden from the United Kingdom and Denmark
On 14 January 2021, the Government also decided on a change to the travel ban to Sweden from Denmark and the United Kingdom. The change means that children travelling to be with a parent who lives in Sweden or on Bornholm, and the person accompanying the child on such trips, can enter the country. Moreover, the exemption for those who carry out, are involved in or are the subject of medical transport services from Denmark has been expanded. The change applies as of 16 January 2021.    
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Foreign Minister Ann Linde inaugurated Swedish OSCE Chairpersonship 2021Foreign Minister Ann Linde inaugurated Swedish OSCE Chairpersonship 2021
Chairperson-in-Office Ann Linde presented Sweden’s 2021 priorities to Permanent Council   Published  

Over the coming year, the Swedish Chairpersonship will do its part to ensure that the OSCE can make a real difference on the ground and defend the principles on which the Organization was founded, said OSCE Chairperson-in-Office and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden Ann Linde in her virtual address to the Permanent Council today.

“In a situation where multilateral co-operation and international law are increasingly being challenged, and our agreements and instruments to strengthen security are being questioned, we need to remind ourselves why we designed them in the first place,” said Linde. “Sweden is convinced that multilateral co-operation is the best way to address our common challenges. Sweden has shown that we are ready to shoulder our responsibility for the multilateral system.” Elaborating on the Chairpersonship’s priorities, she said they will focus on the principles and commitments shared by all 57 participating States, defending the European security order and upholding the OSCE’s concept of comprehensive security. Political and economic security, human rights, democracy, the rule of law and equality are interrelated and interconnected, she added. “Through the shared commitments on which the OSCE was founded, the link between security and respect for human rights, democracy and the rule of law is crystal clear,” said Linde. “Together we have declared all OSCE principles and commitments to be matters of immediate and legitimate concern to all participating States.” “By holding each other accountable, we make sure that our commitments remain relevant. By honouring our commitments, we make sure that our region is safe. This is where the unique value of our organization lies.” Conflict resolution efforts in the region is a high priority, Linde said, noting the ongoing conflicts and crises in and around Nagorno-Karabakh, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia and Belarus. “Threats to international peace and security, as well as the suffering caused by conflicts, are simply unacceptable,” Linde said. “We therefore need to keep the resolution of the conflicts in our region at the top of our agenda.” She said that the Chair will call for respect for international law in all conflicts and will back measures to mitigate the humanitarian consequences and advocate an inclusive approach. The Chair remains ready to engage directly with stakeholders and offers OSCE’s good offices to facilitate solutions, Linde added. She underscored that the OSCE “is only as effective as we, the participating States, allow it to be” and called on participating States to “engage constructively” on the OSCE Unified Budget. She said the Chair stands “ready to do our part in leading negotiations.” She stressed that achieving comprehensive security throughout the region requires meaningful inclusion and empowerment of women. Linde emphasized that as Chairperson-in-Office, she would place special emphasis on strengthening gender equality in all aspects of the Organization’s work.
  For more information: Photo Photo: The Government Offices of Sweden
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Electrification of Transport – Are we ready to take charge of the future?
On January 13, 2021 the Swedish Chamber of Commerce was very proud to host Johan Uhlin Managing Director  Scania Production Zwolle B.V. and Janko van der Baan Managing Director Scania Benelux | Management Team Scania Belgium NV-SA | Scania Nederland BV | Scania Luxembourg SA for a webinar on the Electrification of Transport. We would like to thank Janko van der Baan for his highly interesting presentation and all guests for their active participation and questions, making this Roud table webinar to a huge success.
  The electrification of transport is an important step for a more sustainable world.  A successful industry transition depends on a delicate balance between both environmental and business sustainability, as well as maturity in technology and infrastructure. A balance best achieved together with producers, customers, and partners in energy and infrastructure. Electrification of the heavy commercial truck fleet is decisive in reaching the Paris Agreement target of limiting global warming to well below 2°C.  E-vehicles will therefore increasingly be an attractive option.
 
Conclusions by Janko van der Baan
  • Sustainability is essential for our future business
  • Connectivity plays an important role in efficient transport
  • Energy efficiency can also be achieved with here and now solutions
  • Here and now energy is the transition to a sustainable future
  • Scania takes its responsibility into the sustainable future
    On September 15, 2020 Scania launched its first range of electric trucks. The high-performance plug-in hybrid and fully electric trucks initially focus on urban applications.          

Keynote Speakers:

Johan Uhlin Managing Director  Scania Production Zwolle B.V.

Janko van der Baan Managing Director Scania Benelux | Management Team Scania Belgium NV-SA | Scania Nederland BV | Scania Luxembourg SA

 
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Netherlands to remain in lockdown until at least 9 February inclusive
The number of people in the Netherlands becoming infected with coronavirus is falling slightly. This shows the lockdown is starting to work. Our next task is to bring about far larger and quicker reductions in daily infection rates, so that the number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals and intensive care units also comes down. The government has therefore decided that the Netherlands will remain in lockdown until at least 9 February inclusive. This means we must have as little contact with others as possible, so that the virus cannot spread as quickly. That way we can ensure healthcare services remain available to all. This is especially important given the emergence of new variants of the coronavirus, which the Outbreak Management Team (OMT) is now studying. The government has also asked the OMT to examine the potential benefits of more far-reaching measures such as a curfew.
Vaccination against COVID-19 has now started in the Netherlands. That means that we are now entering a new phase in this crisis. But unfortunately this does not mean that we can lift all the measures currently in place. Most people are still at risk and many people in the Netherlands are still infectious. The measures cannot therefore be relaxed in any way if we are to combat the spread of coronavirus. The basic rules can only be set aside once the vast majority of people in the Netherlands have been vaccinated.  

Overview of measures

Until at least 9 February 2021 the current measures will continue to apply:
  • Stay at home. You should only go outside to buy essentials, to get some fresh air, to walk the dog, to go to work if you cannot work from home or to provide essential informal care or support.
  • Only receive visitors at home if this is absolutely necessary. If you decide to have visitors, you are urgently advised to receive no more than 2 visitors aged 13 or over.
  • Work from home. Only people whose presence is essential to operational processes and who cannot do their work from home can go to work.
  • Only go outside with members of your household, on your own or with 1 other person.
  • Some locations are closed:
    • Shops (except those selling essentials like food)
    • Locations where contact-based professions are carried out, such as hairdressers, nail salons and sex establishments.
    • Theatres, concert halls, cinemas, casinos, etc.
    • Zoos, amusement parks, etc.
    • Indoor sports facilities, gyms, swimming pools, saunas, spas etc.
    • Restaurants and cafes
  • Hotels are open, but hotel restaurants are closed and room service is not available.
  • Adults can exercise alone or with one other person, and only outside. Children aged 17 and under may take part in team sports and play matches against children at the same club, but only outside.
  • Use public transport for essential travel only.
  • Do not travel abroad and do not books trips abroad until 31 March.
  • Only medical professionals and allied health professionals may carry out work that involves close contact with clients or patients.
Until at least 8 February, educational institutions will provide most teaching remotely. Secondary schools can offer practical training, school exams for pupils in the upper years and lessons for pupils with upcoming final exams on site. Secondary vocational schools (MBO), higher professional education institutions (HBO) and universities can offer exams and practical training on site. All educational institutions can make exceptions to provide support to vulnerable children or students. Daycare and out-of-school care centres will remain closed during this period. The OMT will be issuing advice on the effects of the ‘British variant’ of coronavirus on children. On the basis of this advice the government will decide if and when primary schools and childcare centres can reopen. For children , emergency childcare is available at their primary school, daycare centre and/or out-of-school care centre. Parents are urged to use emergency childcare only if they have no other option.   https://www.government.nl/latest/news/2021/01/12/netherlands-to-remain-in-lockdown-until-at-least-9-february-inclusive  
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Bolagsverket, the Swedish Companies Registration Office
Search for business information At the Swedish Companies Registration Office´s website (Bolagsverket) you will find the latest information about enterprises and persons in Sweden and the rest of Europe.  
The Swedish Companies Registration Office (Bolagsverket) creates the conditions needed for establishing trust within the business sector. Our primary role is to register company information and make it available, which contributes value to society.
We will provide good conditions for business. We want to create a good infrastructure for growth and give enterprising individuals the indications they need for achieving their dreams. We are working with other government agencies in order to reach these goals. Bolagsverket registers new companies, changes in company information and annual reports. You can also search for and purchase company information from our registers. Working together with others, we help to make life simpler for companies and those doing business. Starting a company should be simple, quick and easy to do correctly. We therefore provide information and digital services to help businesses. On verksamt.se you can read more about how to start and run a business, writing a business plan and sending in an application to start a business. For those already running businesses, we offer services such as our app. You can log in and see current details about your business, keep track of what is going on in the business, register a new address and download your certificate of registration or annual report. And it is quick, easy and free of charge. Bolagsverket is situated in Sundsvall and has approximately 600 employees. The agency is largely financed by fees, which means that rather than taxpayers funding us, we charge fees for what we do. If you have any questions, you are welcome to contact us by phone, email or by filling in the contact us form on our website. We are here to help you. Annika Stenberg, Director General Bolagsverket
For more information:
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