Reports of near deal on budget cuts are premature: Geert Wilders

Reports that negotiations to find new austerity measures totalling over €9bn are premature, PVV leader Geert Wilders said on Friday.

On Thursday various media reported the talks were in the final stages and could be sent to the CP macro-economic forecasting agency as early as Friday evening.
However, Wilders used the microblogging service Twitter to say the claims are too early. The talks can still go off ‘in any direction,’ the leader of the anti-immigration party said.
Prime minister Mark Rutte said during his weekly press conference on Friday that ‘no exciting news’ should be expected on Friday or Monday and emphasised the ‘wide differences in opinions’ between the three parties involved in the talks.
Pay freeze

The Financieele Dagblad says on Friday morning agreement has been reached to continue freezing civil service, healthcare and education sector salaries. Social security benefits will not go up next year either, the paper said, quoting sources close to the talks.
Nos television said existing plans to increase the state pension age to 66 may be brought forward to 2015.
The agreement is extremely complicated and may need further revision to make sure financial targets are reached. Some say the minority coalition and alliance partner PVV are looking to austerity measures of €15bn.

The cuts are needed to bring the budget deficit back to below 3%, in line with eurozone monetary union rules.
The FD says prime minister Mark Rutte on Thursday spoke to the small fundamentalist Christian party SGP about some of the plans. SGP support will be needed to drive the changes through both houses of parliament because the coalition no longer has a majority.
Specialists from the three alliance partners have also been asked for their position on some of the plans, the paper says.
The talks are due to resume on Friday evening.

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