Tuesday 24 September 2019

Next Dutch government should invest €1bn in innovation, says minister

Photo: government.nl

The new government needs to spend €1bn to future-proof the Dutch economy and should also take steps to allow Schiphol airport to grow, caretaker economic affairs minister Henk Kamp says in an interview in Thursday’s AD.

The minister on Thursday has sent an evaluation of the government’s ‘top sector’ strategy to parliament which shows that two of the three targets have been reached, the paper said.

Firstly, the economy has risen to fourth place in the World Economic Forum rankings – the target was a top 5 position. Secondly, the private sector and educational institutions have pumped €800m into innovation, of which 40% was private sector cash.

However, the strategy has not led to 2.5% of GDP being invested in research and development as hoped. The figure remains around 2%, compared with 2.9% in Germany, the AD said.

‘I would expect €1bn is needed from the government and €4bn to €5bn from the private sector’ to reach that target by 2020, Kamp told the paper.

Top sectors

The Dutch government has earmarked nine sectors which it considers to be key to the economy for special R&D investment.

Research by the Financieele Dagblad last year showed that while the high tech materials sector – which includes chip machinery maker ASML – has generated large amounts of private sector investment, market gardening, the creative industries, logistics and chemicals & energy have not.

Kamp also said it is crucial that Schiphol airport be able to grow above 500,000 aircraft movements a year. ‘Schiphol is unbelievably important for our competitive position,’ he said. ‘The hub function is one reason why so many international companies locate here.’

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