Dutch austerity package to cut budget deficit welcomed in Brussels

The austerity package put together by the five-party coalition was well received in Brussels during a fringe meeting of EU finance ministers, Jan Kees de Jager told reporters on Monday evening.

Luxemburg’s Jean-Claude Juncker, who chaired the meeting, said it is a ‘good quality package of measures’ and the EU’s finance commissioner Olli Rehn called it ‘an important agreement that sends a strong signal about the Netherlands’ intention to bring government spending under control’.
The austerity package was put together in record time by the minority government parties Christian Democrats and right-wing liberals VVD together with green party GroenLinks, left-wing liberals D66 and the ChristianUnie.
According to De Jager, the finance ministers also reacted positively to the five parties’ decision to push through structural reform ahead of market demands. He was referring to plans to reform the jobs market.
‘We are not doing this because Brussels says so, but for ourselves,’ said the minister.
Final details
The five-party agreement, put together after the collapse of budget talks between the minority government and its alliance partner, the anti-Islam PVV, aims to cut €12bn from government spending. The parties say this is enough to cut the budget deficit to 3% in 2013, in line with EU rules.
The five party leaders are meeting later on Tuesday to work out the final details. The package will then be submitted to the economic policy institute CPB which will calculate the effects on household income.
The measures include a rise in value-added tax from 19% to 21% and €1.6bn in savings on healthcare.

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