The Netherlands cannot expect any relaxation of the rules requiring the budget deficit to be cut to below 3%, European commissioner Olli Rehn told news agency ANP on Wednesday.
‘Rumours about a relaxation [of the rules] are unfounded,’ Rehn said. The Dutch economy is not in such trouble that an exception would be possible, ANP quoted Rehn as saying.
In the interview, Rehn emphasised it is essential for the Dutch economy that the Netherlands sticks to the rules.
The austerity agreement signed by the minority government and three other parties at the end of April includes structural reforms which are important for the sustainability of Dutch government finances, he said.
The Volkskrant says Rehn’s comments are significant because there have been signs that Brussels may be more relaxed about the Dutch deficit, which threatens to reach 4.6% this year.
Under eurozone rules, it must be below 3% by 2013, forcing the government to cut spending and increase taxes.