Queen stresses need to work together

Freedom and security are under pressure in many places and economic growth cannot be taken for granted, queen Beatrix said in her traditional address to open the new parliamentary year on Tuesday.

‘The government wants to build a country which has confidence in itself and which faces up to the future together with all its citizens,’ the queen said in her speech to MPs and officials in the Ridderzaal (Knights’ Hall) in The Hague. ‘Together we make society stronger,´ she said.
The Dutch economy is in a relatively good position thanks to the efforts made over the past few years, the queen said. ‘Unemployment is low, spending power has gone up by an average 12% since 2000 and the pension system is solid,’ she said.
However, we must remain alert, she added. The government wants to strengthen the economy by improving its competitive position, reducing inflation and getting more people into work.
Responsible pay developments
And in return for a decision not to increase value added tax ‘responsible pay developments and a reduction in unemployment benefit premiums are possible,’ she said.
The queen referred to recent incidents in which ambulance personnel have been attacked. ‘Aggressive or intimidating behaviour on the streets is unacceptable’ and would be cracked down on hard, she said.
Later on Tuesday, finance minister Wouter Bos is due to present the government’s spending plans to MPs.
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