Brussels praises Dutch ‘balanced budget’

The government’s 2008 spending plans are balanced and in line with the EU stability pact requirements, the European Commission said in a statement on Wednesday.

At the same time, the Netherlands should take action to improve the long-term stability of its public finances in light of the expected cost of an ageing population, the commission said.
The comments do not take into account the latest events on the world financial markets which led to continued unease on the Amsterdam stock exchange on Wednesday.
After opening up 2%, the AEX blue-chip index continued to decline, as fears about a possible recession in the US and the credit crisis continued to be felt.
On Tuesday evening finance minister Wouter Bos said there is no question of the European economy heading for recession because it is much healthier than the US economy.
And he stressed he is continuing to base spending on growth of between 1.5% and 2.5% this year, in line with forecasts by the central bank.
Wout Dekker, CEO at animal feed group Nutreco, said he expects the stock exchange problems to lead to more takeovers.
‘Low-priced shares present more opportunities,’ he was reported as saying. Dekker was speaking during a meeting organised by the Dutch private equity association NVP.

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