The Socialist party has refused to join the budget negotiations which begin on Monday, saying to do so would be ‘completely futile’.
The negotiations, which will be led by finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem, follow last week’s two-day debate in parliament, which underlined the width of the gulf between the coalition government’s 2014 budget plans and the opposition parties.
The government hopes the negotiations will lead to broader opposition support for its spending plans which it needs to get the measures through the upper house of parliament where it does not have a majority.
Jobs and spending power
Socialist party (SP) leader Emile Roemer said on Saturday his party will not take part in the negotiations. ‘It is time to invest in jobs and spending power,’ he told the media. And SP senator Tiny Kox told journalists: ‘There is no point in talking if the government clings to its extra cuts of €6bn in 2014 and other plans the SP rejects.’
Anti-immigration PVV party leader Geert Wilders has already said he will not attend the talks.
With the finance minister hosting the negotiations rather than prime minister Mark Rutte, opposition leaders have decided to send their finance representatives instead of attending themselves.
The traditional post-budget debate on the government finances set for next week has now been postponed for a week.