Everyone who lives in the Netherlands must work together to contribute to the country’s future, queen Beatrix said in her traditional budget day speech on Tuesday afternoon.
‘The government calls on all Dutch citizens and everyone living in the Netherlands to play their part,’ the queen told her audience of ministers, MPs and other dignatories at the Knights Hall in the parliamentary complex in the Hague.
‘All of us have a responsibility, young and old, members of the public and administrators, employees and employers. The government hopes that everyone realises this and will act accordingly,’ the queen said.
The queen said ‘determination and a willingness to change’ are needed and outlined a number of steps the government plans to take to tackle the situation in the Netherlands.
‘People are losing their jobs, the number of bankruptcies is increasing, assets built up over years are shrinking and major shortfalls in government finances are inevitable,’ the queen said.
But it is the government’s ambition to make sure the Netherlands will recover its strong economic and social position, the queen said.
In light of economic developments, the government has already announced a number of measures such as the increase in pension age from 65 to 67 and higher taxes on people whose homes are worth over €1m, she said.
On top of this the government will spend the next six months preparing fundamental changes in around 20 areas of the public sector. And the government will also look into ways to save 20% in social expenditure.
The economic recession has also exposed ‘moral shortcomings’ in the financial world and the government has taken action to ensure better supervision in this area as well as making agreements on top salaries in the public sector.
Although her speech focused on the economic crisis, queen Beatrix also referred to a ‘lack of integration within some groups in society, rude and disrespectful behaviour by many in public spaces and criminality among groups of young people’. The government would not only take action against those responsible but is also tackling the causes of this problematic behaviour.
Earlier in the day thousands of people lined the route as the golden carriage carrying the queen, crown prince Willem-Alexander and his wife princess Máxima travelled from Palace Noordeinde to parliament.
For the queen’s speech in English, click here
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