Wilders' tweet puts pressure on coalition
Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders has put the minority coalition under more pressure. He tweeted that his party could only agree to more cuts with the coalition parties conservative VVD and Christian Democrats, if four billion euros is cut from the development cooperation budget. The coalition relies on the Freedom Party's support for a majority in parliament on most issues.
Earlier Mr Wilders taunted the coalition partners by siding with the opposition against gay marriage ‘refusniks’ – civil servants who refuse to hold marriage ceremonies for same sex couples - and by ordering a feasibility study into reintroducing the guilder to replace the euro.
“Hard times have broken out for the coalition support deal,” Green Left Leader Jolande Sap concluded on Thursday. “The question is how long will the Christian Democrats put up with it?”
The Christian Democrats recently supported a motion in parliament to keep development aid at 0.7 percent of the Gross National Product GNP in line with international agreements.
In 2012, expectations are that 0.7 percent of GNP will be spent on aid, as laid down in the cabinet’s multi-year budget of 2010. If four billion euros are cut from that development cooperation budget, there would be almost nothing left as it is only 4.4 billion euros.
Whether or not the government needs to make extra cuts on top of the planned 18 billion euros will become apparent in the spring, when the Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis publishes its new economic predictions. In response to Mr Wilders' tweet, Deputy Prime Minister Maxime Verhagen showed he was not impressed, “That last tweet by Wilders is not particularly original.”
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