2014 budget: Now the horse-trading begins as parties vie for changes

The coalition government is to start negotiations with opposition parties on changes to the 2014 spending plans in an effort to win their support for measures in the upper house of parliament.

Finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem is to send out the invitations and all parties represented in parliament will be invited to take part, the prime minister said.

The aim of the talks is to create ‘broader support for the 2014 budget’, Rutte said at the end of two days of debate on the plans. The traditional post-budget debate on the government finances set for next week has now been postponed for a week.


Despite the olive branch, opposition MPs have their doubts about the likely success of the negotiations, Nos television said on Friday. Party leaders have expressed disappointment at the lack of concrete proposals from the prime minister.

The talks are also likely to cause friction between ministers, employers and unions who drew up a major package of jobs market reforms earlier this year.

The CDA and D66 opposition parties want plans to reform redundancy law and cut unemployment benefit brought forward but both unions and employers oppose this.

The prime minister did say that plans to cut spending on the AIVD secret service may be put on ice and that he would look again at reducing the rise in petrol and alcohol duties.

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