Government talks continue, ‘sufficient perspective’ for a deal

Talks between the minority coalition and anti-immigration PVV on finding at least €9bn in new savings will continue after all, the state information service said on Thursday.

On Wednesday the negotiations were on the verge of collapse. According to media reports, PVV leader Geert Wilders’ refusal to agree to reforming healthcare and redundancy law was at the centre of the crisis. The PVV has a formal alliance with the minority government.
However, ‘the negotiators have decided to continue their talks. They see sufficient perspective to be able to reach an agreement which will answer the problems facing our country,’ the RVD statement said.
The VVD Liberals, Christian Democrats and PVV have to find a massive package of savings and new cash in order to reduce the budget deficit below the eurozone limit of 3%. They have been involved in negotiations since March 5.
The VVD and CDA are keen to see labour market reforms instigated as part of the package while Wilders says development aid should be slashed. Some sources say he also wants a referendum on the euro.
All three parties have agreed not to comment further on their progress until agreement has been reached.
Central bank
Central bank president Klaas Knot said on Thursday politicians have ‘no time to lose’ if they want to retain the Netherlands’ strong economic position.
‘The economic challenges need an answer now,’ Knot said at the presentation of the bank’s 2011 annual report. ‘We cannot permit ourselves a forgotten year. The challenges for the Netherlands are major and will not go away, no matter what the political make-up [of the government] is.’
The Netherlands has to brief Brussels on its spending plans by April 30.
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