The figures we have all been waiting for are finally in. The Netherlands is heading for a severe recession. So what happens next?

If the Netherlands had a government with an absolute majority in parliament it would be easy. Bite the bullet, take unpopular decisions and brave out the storm of protest.
But here, of course, it is not so simple. Holland is run by a coalition government and its members have to agree between themselves what to do. And the more controversial the idea, the harder it is to get agreement.
The Christian Democrats have already said that mortgage tax relief will be spared – even though this is about the only country in Europe to give home owners such generous tax breaks when they borrow money to buy a house.
The orthodox Christian parrty ChristenUnie is totally opposed to any proposals to slash the tax break for stay-at-home mums.
And while raising the retirement age from 65 to 67 keeps being suggested, it is hard to see what effect that would have on the economy. After all, hardly anyone works in Holland once they turn 60.
But rather than run around like headless chickens, ministers have cunningly handed the whole problem over to senior civil servants for their suggestions. Anything to delay the process of actually taking a decision for a little while longer.

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