Dutch Coalition Hammers Out Austerity Deal
27 April 2012 (PLANSPONSOREurope.com) – A five-party coalition in the Netherlands has agreed plans, including changes to pensions, to cut the Dutch budget deficit to meet Eurozone targets.
Nos television reports that Finance minister Jan Kees de Jager has succeeded in cutting a deal to reduce the deficit together with the D66 Liberal democrats, green party GroenLinks and small Christian party ChristenUnie.
The proposals include bringing forward the increase in the state pension age, a two percentage point rise in value-added tax (btw) and higher healthcare fees.
At the weekend, talks between the minority coalition and anti-immigration PVV collapsed when Geert Wilders’ party pulled out.
Stefan Angele, Head of Investment Management, Swiss & Global Asset Management, says the measures are necessary to avoid a spiralling deficit. “Although the Netherlands has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the European Union, the country is currently in recession and experiencing a real estate crisis that has increased household debt and diminished an already low domestic consumption. Because of the on-going recession, the Netherlands is expected to incur a budget deficit of 4.6% GDP in 2013 if no additional budget cuts are implemented.”