Crisis averted, JSF decision in 2012
The three coalition parties have avoided a cabinet crisis by agreeing to delay a decision on buying the JSF fighter jet until after the next election.
Labour MPs had refused to back plans to buy two test JSFs, saying they were not sure it was the best deal for voters. Junior defence minister Jack de Vries, a Christian Democrat, had wanted to sign the contract by the end of the month.
‘We can go further with the process. That is the fruit of the discussions between the coalition partners,’ prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende was reported as saying.
Opposition MPs described the decision as laughable. ‘A monster,’ said Liberal (VVD) leader Mark Rutte.
The decision on whether or not to buy the two test planes will now be taken next year. And in 2012, when a new government has been formed, ministers will decide whether or not to replace the Dutch armed forces’ ageing F16s with 85 JSFs, at a cost of at least €6bn.
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