MPs up campaign for fuel-cost compensation

2nd December 2005, Comments 0 comments

6 December 2005, AMSTERDAM — A political confrontation about fuel costs moved up a notch on Tuesday as MPs of two government parties prepared to force ministers to compensate the public.

6 December 2005

AMSTERDAM — A political confrontation about fuel costs moved up a notch on Tuesday as MPs of two government parties prepared to force ministers to compensate the public.

The parliamentary factions of Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende's Christian Democrats (CDA) and the D66 Party began work on an amendment to compel the government to compensate the public by EUR 35 each.

These increased the intensity of the debate in Parliament between Finance Minister Gerrit Zalm and Social Affairs Minister Aart Jan de Geus on one side and a majority of MPs on the other.

The government has repeatedly argued in recent days that there is no need for compensation despite the high cost of fuel.

Zalm declined to comment on Monday about a claim he threatened to resign if the Cabinet agrees to compensate the public.

He allegedly made the threat during Friday's Cabinet meeting after the government was put under pressure by parliament to compensate the public.

Of the three coalition parties, only Zalm's Liberals (VVD) are resolute about not giving into parliament's call.

A majority of MPs called last Thursday for measures to support households. The government countered by pointing to a report by the macro-economic think tank CPB that predicts high fuel costs will be offset by a decline in healthcare costs due to the new health system coming into force in January. The CPB said on balance the public's purchasing power will increase in 2006.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2005]

Subject: Dutch news

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