Economic turn-around being ignored: PM
22 June 2006, AMSTERDAM — Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende has chided the opposition parties for not appreciating the Dutch economy is growing faster than the EU average.
22 June 2006
AMSTERDAM — Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende has chided the opposition parties for not appreciating the Dutch economy is growing faster than the EU average.
"Colleagues in Europe ask me: 'what is going on in the Netherlands, you are out in front [economically] again?' I hear appreciation from our European colleagues, while all you get is moaning here in parliament," Balkenende told MPs on Thursday.
He was speaking during a debate about the government's performance in the last 12 months.
Balkenende said the reform of the healthcare system and social security had been necessary and were now beginning to bear fruit. "We are better off because of these changes. I am proud of what has been achieved."
The left-wing opposition parties countered that youth unemployment has worsened. The Socialist Party (SP) even suggested the economic decline of recent years had been made worse by the policies pursued by Balkenende's centre-right coalition government.
Balkenende acknowledged that 2005 had been a difficult year but said many crucial areas, including the labour market, employment levels, economic growth, State finances and education, had been improved on by his government.
Also healthcare waiting lists have been cut. "A sound basis has been laid to absorb the rising costs of the ageing population," he said.
[Copyright Expatica News 2006]
Subject: Dutch news