Dutch official deficit reaches 4.7% of output in 2011

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The Dutch public deficit reached 4.7 percent of output in 2011, down from 5.1 percent in 2010, the CBS official statistics office said on Friday.

"For the third consecutive year, public deficit and public debt surpassed European limits," the office said while announcing that public debt reached 65.2 percent of gross domestic product in 2011.

European Union nations are supposed to keep their public deficits at under 3.0 percent of gross domestic product and their public debt at under 60 percent.

The deficit figure for last year was lower than the official forecast of 5.0 percent largely owing to a 25-percent cut in spending by local authorities, the office said.

The Dutch governing coalition and its far-right parliamentary partner are expected shortly to reach an agreement on reducing the public deficit.

The Dutch government found itself in an embarrassing situation when official national estimates showed that the public deficit for 2013 would rise to 4.6 percent of domestic gross product under current conditions.

The figures were a blow to the government which has insisted that countries in breach of European Union deficit rules must be rigorous in correcting public finances.

Figures by the country's central planning bureau (CPB), on which the government relies, showed earlier this month that the state must save 16 billion euros ($21 billion) in 2013 to meet EU rules.

© 2012 AFP

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