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Former CDA ministers warn coalition not to cut aid budget

Friday 30 March 2012

Senior Christian Democratic party members on Friday warned the government it will damage the reputation of the Netherlands abroad if rumours of a planned €1bn cut in the development aid budget are true, Nos television reports.

The letter, signed by former prime minister Ruud Lubbers, three former CDA foreign ministers and two aid ministers, says a large part of the Netherlands’ strong international position is due to to its image as an open and involved country.

‘Our contribution to development aid has made a strong contribution to the positive image of the Netherlands in developing countries,’ the letter states.

Spending cuts

Earlier on Friday, the Volkskrant and Telegraaf reported spending on aid is to be slashed as part of a package of measures to reduce government spending in 2013.

The minority coalition and its alliance partner, the anti-immigration PVV, on Thursday restarted talks on austerity measures to take the Dutch budget deficit below 3%. Sources in The Hague told both papers cuts in aid spending have now been agreed. This was a key demand of the PVV.

A €1bn cut a year would slice over 20% off the aid budget of some €4.6bn a year, and take the Netherlands well below the United Nations norm of 0.7% of gross domestic product. The Netherlands used to spend 0.8% of GDP on development aid but that was reduced by the current coalition.


The Telegraaf says such a move would be very difficult for Christian Democrats on the left of the party to accept. Their support will be crucial in winning acceptance for a deal because the coalition no longer has a majority in parliament.

Last week, Microsoft founder turned philanthropist Bill Gates launched his own attempt to persuade the Netherlands not to cut its development aid budget, with interviews and columns in most Dutch papers.

Cutting aid to less than 0.7% of GDP can have enormous repercussions on the willingness of other countries to contribute, Gates warned in an interview with the Volkskrant.

Earlier stories
Bill Gates to Wilders: come to Africa with me
Development aid to focus on fewer countries
Development aid will remain at 0.7% of GDP, says minister

© DutchNews.nl


Readers' Comments

Why doesn't Bill Gates ask the IMF and World Bank to slash 3rd would debt? This is where the true problem is. Why do we pay aid to foreign countries when there is Dutch children living in poverty?

By Phil | 31 March 2012 3:54 AM

@Phil: Americans wonder the same thing. Why are we paying IMF to bail out Greece when they created their own problems due to greed. Many Greeks live in wealthy homes with pools, have boats and refuse to pay their taxes. The US is the biggest contributor to the IMF fund so it Americans also bailing out their irresponsibility. Not to mention how the US still sends money to Pakistan even after they protected a terrorist (Bin Laden) for years.Time to take care of poverty in our homelands before wasting it on foreign countries.

By V | 31 March 2012 2:24 PM

Because, Phil, those people in the developing world who need aid will ALWAYS be worse off, living on LESS than €1 A DAY than any of the Dutch children living in so-called "poverty". Roofs over their heads, free education, suitable healthcare and peace are basic human rights that these people DO NOT have. The Dutch DO.

By Bob | 31 March 2012 6:41 PM

I think it's really sad they dig up these old fossils.It's like we don't live in the 1930's go die already the world has changed.

By Roland | 31 March 2012 7:35 PM

Yes, let's send out more money while more Dutch moms end up in the 'bijstand' and the food banks are more empty every day.

That was sarcasm, by the way.

By BrianVanR | 1 April 2012 12:40 PM

Are Dutch children starving to death, out in the streets without a roof over their heads, in the middle of a war zone, Phil? I had no idea.

By CW | 1 April 2012 3:25 PM

Bob, CW: trying to talk common sense to a PVVer is a complete waste of time. You should both know that by now.

By Bill | 2 April 2012 6:29 AM

Thanks for the post Bob. Unfortunately getting today's society to think about anyone but themselves and how things affect THEM is a nearly impossible task. It's all me, me, me, ikke, ikke, ikke.

By Stupid | 2 April 2012 8:50 AM

@bill- As u can see by the comments here people seem to be 50/50 on foreign aid. I know it's hard for a die hard lefty like yourself to comprehend that people might not share your views, but please try sir.

By phil | 2 April 2012 11:12 AM

It's not about an opinion, Phil. It's about people who care about others and people that don't. And yeah, about 50% of people don't give a CRAP about anyone but themselves and these posts reflect that. I find it sad, but I guess you're perfectly okay with it.

By Stupid | 3 April 2012 9:40 AM

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