2015 budget: Opposition parties unimpressed with the king’s speech

The opposition parties in parliament were unimpressed with the budget delivered on Tuesday afternoon, even the three ‘friendly’ parties who have been working with the government.

D66 party leader Alexander Pechtold said it is scandalous that the cabinet has postponed an overhaul of the tax system, which is long overdue. ‘We have 600,000 unemployed. That should have been a priority for today,’ he told broadcaster Nos.

‘I cannot demand anything from opposition, but to sit on your hands after two years, with an economy that is so fragile and all the unrest on the borders of Europe is unacceptable,’ Pechtold, who has worked with the government on pension and health service reform, said.

Christian Democrat leader Sybrand Buma said the government had shown ‘too little ambition’. ‘I have the feeling the cabinet is using delaying tactics, he said. ‘Tax reform has been delayed and the investment in security is the bare minimum.’

Unworthy of a king

PVV leader Geert Wilders was the most negative, saying the king’s speech was ‘lacking vision’. It was bordering on ‘lese majesty’ to allow the king to read such a bad speech, he said.

Socialist party leader Emile Roemer said the speech was ‘unworthy of a king’ and a summing up of already published plans. He said he was surprised the word poverty had not been mentioned once in the text.

From the governing coalition, Labour leader Diederik Samsom agreed that the economic recovery at the heart of the budget is dependent on the international situation.

VVD party leader Halbe Zijlstra added that the economy is more robust now and can absorb a shock. ‘That is just as well, as there are threats. The government must hold its course.’

MPs will debate the government’s plans over a two-day period, starting on Wednesday.

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