Dutch finance minister: storm looming

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The Netherlands should brace itself for a looming economic and financial storm, Finance Minister Jan Kees de Jager said during the presentation of next year’s budget in parliament.

A rising headwind, the finance minister declared, is causing growing unrest: “Something is looming, though we do not exactly know how much is coming and when.”

The global economic downturn is also taking its toll on the Netherlands, Mr De Jager added. “What is clear is that 2012 is going to be a tough year for a lot of people. We have to make clear choices and these will occasionally also cause pain.”

Moreover, public expenditures are coming under increased pressure due to the ageing population and the spiralling cost of health care.

“The Netherlands is a financially solid and reliable country, but that doesn’t  mean we don’t have a budget deficit — and our debt keeps growing. Every day we spend too much. This year we’re spending 70 million euros too much per day. Next year that amount will still be a daily 50 million euros.”

The cabinet also intends, Mr De Jager announced, to help Europe recover its financial stability. To that end it wants the EU to introduce stricter budget rules and so prevent Greece’s problems from spreading to the rest of Europe.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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