Dutch politicians bogged down by crisis
In the throes of economic crisis, politicians in The Hague vow to continue deliberations on Monday.
THE HAGUE—Talks on a plan of action to tackle the credit crisis will continue on Monday in The Hague. Hopes of the three parties in the coalition — the Christian Democrats, Labour Party and Christian Union — achieving a swift compromise have evaporated. Discussions went on until late Thursday evening in Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende's office — known as the Tower or het Torentje — on how to proceed with the talks.
Christian Democrats parliamentary chairman Pieter van Geel said there was still considerable work to be done before the partners could reach an agreement. However, his Labour Party counterpart Mariëtte Hamer did say the "outline of a plan" was on the table, which suggests a breakthrough in Tuesday's complete impasse.
The talks centre on a clash between the Christian Democrats and the Labour Party on how to deal with the crisis. The Labour Party puts the emphasis on immediate investment, but the Christian Democrats think any investment has to be matched by cuts to control the budget deficit.
The greatest stumbling block appears to be how and when to make cuts — for example, raising the retirement age — to compensate the cost of the stimulus package. However, the details of the talks remain under wraps.
Because of rising tensions in the negotiating process, Prime Minister Balkenende decided to speak with Labour Party leader Wouter Bos and Christian Union leader André Rouvoet separately yesterday. Rouvoet said after his meeting with the PM that it would be extremely difficult to present a plan of action outlining the measures the government would be taking today.