Dutch government announces credit guarantees

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The Dutch government has announced a raft of measures to ease the ongoing crisis in the economy.

THE HAGUE - The measures are intended to make lending easier without making a hole in the government's budget

They include the expansion of insurance for export credit to Russia and Eastern Europe, guarantees for investors in companies and guarantees for health care institutions and housing corporations.

The measures have received a luke-warm response from unions and businesses.

The FNV union says the government's measures do not go as far as those taken by the governments in France and Germany, where billions of euros are being pumped into the economy.

This is the second round of measures announced by the government. In the first round in November the measures were geared to helping small and medium-sized businesses.

This time, large companies are helped, for example, by 50 percent guarantees for loans up to 50 million euros from banks or other investors.

Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende could not rule out more measures being announced in the government's interim budget in April.

Radio Netherlands/ Expatica

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