Wetenschap - 2 oktober 1997

English Summary

English Summary

English Summary
  • Agricultural commissioner Franz Fishler of the European Union wants to change the system of subsidies for farmers in Europe. Small-scale extensive farmers in remote areas deserve more financial support, and large-scale farmers in the well-developed areas should get less. Fishler wants a better distribution of the subsidies, taking into account the fact that twenty percent of the farmers receive eighty percent of the subsidies at the moment. His cutbacks will harm Dutch farmers. But negotiations to lower agricultural subsidies in Europe always lead to higher costs, PhD student Tjeerd de Groot has discovered. The making of the common agricultural policy can be compared with the case of a group of people who decide to share the costs of eating out: everybody tends to choose the most expensive dish.
  • The university has removed half of its coffee vending machines in a cost-saving exercise. As a result, the number of coffee-makers in the rooms of the staff is on the increase. Historian Anton Schuurman was given a kettle his birthday so he can make his own instant coffee. The laboratory of Soil Science and Plant Nutrition bought a special machine that makes far better coffee than the central service. We couldn't offer the coffee from the other machine to our guests, one of the laboratory assistants explains. But it is bad luck for the students, who have been deprived of the coffee machines that used to be outside nearly all lecture rooms
  • The University Council was alarmed by the prediction last month that the university is heading towards a deficit of eight million guilders this year. But the situation may not be as bad as it looks, the budget controllers in the departments respond. They are able to temper the shortfalls by cutting down on expenses and using departmental funds. I know from experience that the prognoses round this time of the year are always pessimistic, one of the deficit-makers explains
  • The new student party Veste took its place on the University Council two months ago. They found out that many decisions at the university are made before the subject is discussed by the Council. Lobbying and informal contacts are very important. I found out that other people pull the strings than one would expect from their position, student Hinco Gierman explains. And about the language of the managers: I already know three hundred abbreviations by heart.

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