Mixed reactions to Queens budget address

20th September 2011, Comments 0 comments

The ruling pro-business VVD and Christian Democrat CDA parties have welcomed the annual Budget Day address Queen Beatrix gave to parliament on Tuesday. The Freedom Party, which backs the minority government in parliament, also voiced satisfaction.

VVD parliamentary party leader Stef Blok said he was proud of the speech written by Prime Minister Mark Rutte's centre-right cabinet: “A Budget Day address pronounced under a liberal prime minister. The corresponding message was clear: it’s not up to the state but to all 16 million Dutch nationals.”

Sybrand van Haersma Buma, the Christian Democrat parliamentary party leader, says the government has been clear and honest in telling people that we are living in uncertain, turbulent times: “Our top priority is to keep our jobs and pensions. That battle is now being waged in Europe. The state can only spend money it has first earned. But the economy and finances are just half the story. For, in the end, the economy should serve the people, not the other way around.”

Mr Van Haersma Buma also voiced criticism: “The budget is too sparing with regard to the quality of our living standards and we Christian Democrats will grill the government on that point. We shouldn’t only give more space to entrepreneurs, society in general should be given more space to take the initiative.”

Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders was pleased to hear Europe hardly mentioned in the Queen’s address. “A huge improvement in a matter of days”, he said after the ceremony in The Hague.

Predictably, the opposition parties were critical of the speech, which they described as a “missed chance” and “uninspired”.

Alexander Pechtold, leader of the democrat party D66, slammed the speech for failing to outline any reforms. “Words and words about education but no extra euros for education. No words at all about sustainability. The cabinet is afraid and hides behind the government agreement hoping the crisis will just blow over.”

Labour leader Job Cohen was critical too: “The difficult and uncertain times lying ahead require decisiveness and leadership. Regrettably, this cabinet is failing to show any leadership and is not willing to take future measures.”

The leader of the Socialist Party, Emile Roemer, was disappointed: “It was an enumeration of measures that had been known for a week. The piece lacked any vision—a missed chance. This is just fear-mongering. The message was: abandon ship, women and children first. That doesn’t make me particularly happy.”

Green left parliamentary leader Jolande Sap concluded: “The Queen’s speech was an uninspired, sober story. It befits a cabinet whose sole aim is to cut the budget. There was no attention for bigger challenges such as the euro crisis and sustainability.”

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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