Friday 27 January 2023

Dutch finally publish first draft of EU recovery fund plans

Finance minister Sigrid Kaag has published a list of measures which the government wants to fund with money from the EU’s coronavirus recovery fund, all of which were part of the coalition agreement.

The Netherlands is the last of the 27 EU member states to submit its plans to Brussels.

The package includes 39 elements with a total cost of €7.7 bn, €3 bn more than the Netherlands is entitled to. It will be up to parliament to decide which measures should be on the final list, Kaag said.

Part of the package focuses on measures to help the environment, including the introduction of a carbon tax on heavy industry, a tax on airline tickets, the development of more offshore wind farms and reducing nitrogen-based pollution.

The government also aims to fund the development of an AI industry and quantum technology and further digitalise the legal system.

To qualify for the funding the Netherlands has to agree to implement economic reforms – a condition which the Dutch themselves insisted on when the fund was established.

Brussels is known to want the Netherlands to further reduce the tax relief on mortgages, but that is not included in the coalition accord and ministers have no plans to change the situation, broadcaster NOS said.

The package presented by Kaag is a draft and still has to be debated with parliament. The European Commission must also discuss if the plans go far enough to meet the fund’s conditions before the final version is submitted before the summer.

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