Tensions between the Netherlands’ government and former colony Curaçao have eased following a meeting between home affairs minister Ronald Plasterk and the island’s new prime minister Daniel Hodge.
Plasterk, who is on an official visit to the island, said the new government’s success in gaining support from the opposition for an austerity budget is ‘a great achievement’.
In September 2012 the Caribbean island was placed under a formal compliance order by the Dutch government when its budget showed a shortfall of 153m Antillean guilders, of which nearly 100m guilders was needed to cover debts from previous years.
The charm offensive between Plasterk and Hodge is a move in the right direction. ‘It helps us trust each other, understand each other and respect each other,’ Plasterk said during a press conference.
Curaçao became an independent country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands in 2010, when the Dutch government wrote off its debts. The Netherlands still keeps an eye on its finances and remains responsible for defence and foreign policy.