Dutch government warns of difficult 2012
The Dutch government warned Tuesday of a "difficult year" ahead with a loss in domestic spending and insecurity over stability within the eurozone.
"It's clear that 2012 is going to become a difficult year for many people," Finance Minister Jan Kees de Jager said as he presented the government's 2012 budget to parliament.
"We are keeping track of a gathering storm. How big it will be we can't say. It's clear that the threat is huge," the top Dutch financial official said.
The Dutch coalition government announced strong austerity measures in the budget, including a plan to reduce expenditure by 18 billion euros ($24 billion) by 2015. This included cuts of 6.5 billion euros next year.
"The economic crisis is forcing the Dutch government to implement hard austerity measures," 2012 budget documents stated.
The public deficit, projected at 2.9 percent of GDP is just under the European Union limit of three percent, down from the expected 2011 figure of 3.9 percent.
"The austerity measures amounting to 18 billion euros does not go by unnoticed," Dutch Queen Beatrix said in her address from the throne, written by the government.
"Spending power for everybody will fall in the coming year," she said.
"A properly working internal European market and a stable euro is essential for the economic aims of the government," she said, adding the current climate "asked for strong measures."
"But there was reason for optimism," she said. "Our outlook is strong and remains to be so," she said.
© 2011 AFP