Finance minister sees more billion euro spending cuts looming

Finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem says there is a serious chance the government will have to cut spending again because of the economic downturn, despite an agreement to put further austerity measures on ice.

Speaking on RTLZ radio on Tuesday, Dijsselbloem said: ‘you don’t need to be a whizzkid to see that the economic problems have worsened rather than improved over the past few weeks.’

In August ministers are due to decide whether or not to press ahead with a €4.3bn package of cuts to bring the budget deficit below the 3% eurozone target.

Unions

Earlier this year, the cabinet reached a so-called ‘social accord’ with unions and employers about delaying the cuts. Prime minister Mark Rutte said at the time he hoped the decision to put the new austerity measures on ice would provide the needed boost to the economy.

The government’s macro-economic bureau CPB will publish its new growth forecasts in June.

The European Commission said at the beginning of May the Netherlands did not have to meet eurozone targets this year but must comply fully in 2014.