Budget: to scrap or not to scrap – What the papers say

Everybody was expecting a bumpy ride, but the negotiations that led to Monday’s amendments to the budget seem to have gone smoothly enough to bring the formation of a VVD-Labour cabinet one step closer. What the papers say.

NRC has been looking at which of the two parties has emerged with the least damage to their election promises. ‘Labour has suffered most’, the paper writes.


‘Labour has accepted a number of important measures which it campaigned hard against, such as the hike in VAT and the increase in the own-risk element in the basic healthcare package. These two measures have not been scrapped, although Labour has repeated that a VAT hike would be fatal for the economy. The budget deficit is to be less than 3%, a requirement the party also deemed unnecessary before.’

Labour has managed to score a few points, like the scrapping of the €7.50 hospital fee and the extra contribution for psychiatric healthcare, but compared to the hike in VAT and the early implementation of the increase in the state pension age, these don’t signify much in money terms.

‘The deal means a VVD-Labour cabinet is on the cards. Labour is suffering but is expecting to gain government responsibility and a chance to make good in the long term’. NRC thinks.

Flying colours 

Trouw, in an editorial, is all praise for the two parties. ‘They have passed their first test with flying colours’, the paper writes. ‘Rutte and Samsom appear to have understood the voters’ message.’ Trouw is pleased Diederik Samsom has agreed to lower the deficit to under 3% and calls it ‘the biggest political result’ of the negotiations.

But it’s not all good news. The scrapping of €150m-worth of green measures begs the question how dedicated to the environment this cabinet will be, the paper writes. And the real test will come when healthcare and housing market reforms are on the table.


‘Rutte and Samsom: engaged after only a week of fooling around’, the Volkskrant heads its analysis. ‘It can’t get much clearer than this: the parties are engaged and ready for a lasting commitment’, the paper writes. Samson warned his supporters they ‘will have to get used to more give and take’ while at the same time emphasising the ‘solidly social’ aspects of the deal, the paper writes. ‘Every formation starts out with the will to compromise but in this case it looks as if this will actually lead to a VVD-Labour government accord’, the paper concludes.






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