Budget: queen sees hope in future (update)

There is much in the Netherlands to give hope and confidence for the future, Queen Beatrix said on Tuesday in her traditional speech to open the political year.

In her speech, which is written by the government, the queen outlined the main thrust of government policy for the next year.
The country is poised to spend considerable amounts of money on counteracting the effects of the ageing population and on eradicating the shortage of skilled workers in education and healthcare, she said.
Economic growth has made it possible for the government to take steps to make the country stronger, she said. The cabinet also intends to pay extra attention to improving social cohesion by stimulating tolerance and decency in society.
The government, the queen said, is working to build a country in which everyone feels connected to each other. ‘Our strength is in working together and living together,’ the queen said, echoing the title of the government’s coalition agreement.
In terms of foreign policy, the queen also gave a strong hint that the cabinet would not be calling a referendum on the new EU treaty. She also praised the difficult job being done by Dutch soldiers in Afghanistan.
For photos of the hats, for which Prinsjesdag is famous, click here:

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