Finance minister says budget cut talks so far are ‘constructive’

Talks on an emergency package of spending cuts will continue between finance minister Jan Kees de Jager and three other parties on Thursday, after the minister reported good progress is being made.

‘We have made good progress but you cannot say an agreement is yet in sight,’ De Jager told reporters late on Wednesday evening.
The D66 Liberal democrats, left-wing greens GroenLinks and small Christian party ChristenUnie have formed a united front to support reforms and cuts in an effort to reduce the budget deficit to below 3%, in line with eurozone rules.
‘I see reason to continue talking with this group, possibly with another one or two joining in,’ the minister said, referring to the Labour party which is the second-biggest party in parliament.
The coalition alliance collapsed at the weekend after the anti-immigration party PVV pulled out of the negotiations. But De Jager must submit an economic plan to Brussels by the end of the month.
According to the Volkskrant, the three parties want a number of current pieces of legislation dropped including cuts in spending on the arts and culture, special needs education and personal care budgets.
In return, they are prepared to back changes to the tax break on mortgages, a earlier rise in the state pension age and redundancy law reform.
Parliament is due to debate the government’s financial plans on Thursday.

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