Recession-busting talks continue
Proposals to fight the recession requiring total investment of between €4bn and €8bn were submitted to prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende by the coalition parties at the weekend, reports Monday’s Volkskrant.
The cabinet is to pump billions of euros into the economy this year and pay for the spending through cuts after 2009, the paper says.
Negotiations between the three coalition parties on concrete measures to tackle the recession started last week and on Friday the prime minister sent the party leaders home with instructions to come up with a list of specific proposals the following day.
Labour wants to spend the most and is calling for a cash injection of €2bn to boost jobs, another €2bn for infrastructure and house building projects, €1.5bn each for healthcare and education and €850m for renewable energy, according to the Volkskrant.
Labour also wants the shorter working week scheme (wtv) – which allows companies to ‘park’ workers temporarily in the unemployment system on full pay – to be extended the end of 2010, the paper reports. And the party wants firms that employ anyone over the age of 40 to be rewarded with a cut in premium payments.
The Christian Democrats want a €4bn package of investments while the ChristenUnie has submitted proposals costing €6.5bn of which €1.5bn would be used to stimulate employment (especially jobs for young people) and €3bn the construction sector.
The coalition’s talks on Saturday ‘shuffled on’ the Volkskrant quotes one insider as saying.
The biggest stumbling block in the talks is to what degree the national debt should be allowed to rise and when cuts have to be brought in to bring it back down to under 2% as agreed in the coalition agreement.
The talks are to continue this week and are expected to culminate in the announcement of a recession-busting package on Friday, Balkenende said at his weekly press conference last week.
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