New calculation method shows Dutch economy is bigger than thought
A new, harmonised EU method of calculating economic figures shows the Dutch economy was almost EUR 45 billion bigger than thought in 2010, the national statistics office CBS said on Thursday.
The new methodology also means the state debt in 2010 was 59 percent rather than 63.4 percent of gross national product, while the budget deficit was 5 percent rather than 5.1 percent, the CBS said.
The new calculation methods include spending on research and development and some defence investments.
The proceeds of illegal activities, such as the drugs trade and illegal gambling, are also included.
The revised figures put the contribution to the Dutch economy of illegal activities at EUR 3.4 billion – or EUR 2.4 billion excluding the contribution made by legal companies.
Of this, cannabis accounts for EUR 1.4 billion, prostitution EUR 861 million, fencing stolen goods EUR 282 million and gambling EUR 192 million, the CBS said.
Finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem said in a statement accompanying the new figures that the overall picture is more accurate but that the Netherlands is not actually any richer.
The CBS will publish revised figures for 2011, 2012 and 2013 in June.
The new methods of calculation will also be used by the government's macro-economic think-tank CPB in its crucial autumn forecasts, which the government will use to draw up its 2015 spending plans.