Ministers meet to discuss budget plans, poverty warning

Justice minister Dilan Yesilgoz arrives for the meeting. Photo: Phil Nijhuis ANP

Ministers are meeting today for the first time since the summer recess to discuss strategies for the September budget.

The government’s spending plans for the coming year will be presented as usual on the third Tuesday in September, despite the collapse of the coalition at the beginning of July. 

In particular, ministers will have to decide what to do about Thursday’s warning by the CPB that more people will end up living beneath the poverty line unless the government takes action. 

Although some ministers have hinted that the cabinet should take steps to boost spending power for the lowest incomes, finance minister Sigrid Kaag has said that the budget deficit is “heading in the wrong direction” and that “the budgetary limits have been reached.”

In addition, earlier this week, the national statistics agency CBS said the Netherlands had dipped into a slight recession in the first six months of the year. 

Prime minister Mark Rutte will give the traditional press conference after the meeting, but other regular media appearances will be halted pending the election and the appointment of a new premier. 

Parliament itself is in recess until September 4. When MPs return, they will vote on which issues should be declared controversial, which means no further action will be taken until there is a new government. That vote will take place on September 12, just a week before the budget presentation.

Immigration and asylum and climate measures are likely to be on the list of subjects which will not be discussed until a new coalition has been put together, which could take months after the November vote.

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