The Netherlands will set aside Brussels’ 2.8% budget deficit call

The cabinet will not carry out the European Commission’s recommendation to cut the Dutch budget deficit to 2.8%, prime minister Mark Rutte said on Friday.

The European Commission said earlier this week the Netherlands needs to cut €6bn from its spending plans in order to reach a 2.8% deficit. But Rutte said a €6bn austerity package would generate a budget deficit of exactly 3%.

‘The advice would appear to be contradictory, Rutte said, adding that he would be asking Brussels for clarification. The cabinet will not decide until August if it should adopt extra measures to ensure the deficit meets eurozone guidelines next year.

‘The effort to meet 3% will be hard enough, without building in a safety margin,’ Rutte told reporters.