Opposition parties line up as two-day budget debate starts

MPs will today begin two days of debate on the government’s 2014 spending plans which were presented to parliament last week.

Commentators say the debate promises to be one of the most important in years, because the cabinet does not control the upper house of parliament and needs opposition support for its €6bn austerity package.

‘Ministers will really have to listen to the alternative ideas if they want to pursue their main strategy,’ said RTL commentator Frits Wester. ‘If this does not happen, they will have an enormous problem.’

Without concessions to the main opposition parties, many of the government’s plans will not get through the upper house.

Over the past few days, the big opposition parties CDA and D66 have been outlining their demands. These include reductions in planned tax increases and more measures to stimulate employment.

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