The Netherlands will have to dig its heels in to withstand the coming economic storm, finance minister Jan Kees de Jager told MPs on Tuesday, as he formally handed over the government’s 2012 spending plans to parliament.
‘We are being threatened by something, but we don’t know what is heading for us, or when, the minister said.
‘It is clear that 2012 is going to be a difficult year for a lot of people,’ De Jager said. ‘We have to make difficult choices and they will hurt.’
€70m too much
The Netherlands is a financially solid country, but still runs a deficit and the debt is increasing. This year alone the country will spend €70m too much every day.
The cabinet is trying to carve out a leading role in restoring financial stability to the EU, he said. This is why the government is keen to tighten up eurozone budget rules and prevent the spread of the Greek crisis. In the long term ‘we have to ensure our weaker brother does not bring down other countries in its wake,’ De Jager said.
MPs and ministers will hold two days of debate on the 2012 plans on Wednesday and Thursday. The actual documents were published last week but ministers have refrained from commenting on them since then.