The 9% drop in world trade is the biggest reason for the shrinkage in the Dutch economy, prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende said on Sunday.
Speaking on the way back from a European summit on the crisis, Balkenende told the Telegraaf that the export decline was the ‘fatal factor’ for the Netherlands.
‘But luckily we have much to offer. We can beat this crisis,’ the prime minister said.
In particular, Balkenende said he was concerned about the rise in youth unemployment and about families in which ‘one or both partners will lose their jobs’.
During their Berlin meeting, European leaders agreed on the need to regulate all financial markets including hedge funds, the BBC reports. And the leaders of Europe’s major economies said a global solution was needed to the current financial crisis.
The meeting was a precursor to the London G20 summit, which starts on April 2. The BBC said French, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, UK and German leaders are hoping to take a common approach but that agreement within the EU will be difficult.
Meanwhile, putting government money into insulating homes as a way of boosting the struggling construction sector, as some have suggested, will have little effect, says the macro-economic policy unit CPB. This is not the machine to pull the Dutch economy out of the mire, the CPB’s Paul Koutstaal says in Monday’s Volkskrant.
Unions think the measure could create 8,000 jobs, the paper says.
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