EU warns the Netherlands on budget deficit

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Countries including the Netherlands were told to keep to the European Union’s budgetary rules during the EU summit which ended on Friday in Brussels.

President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy warned that they had to be seen to be keeping to their objectives or they would be punished by the financial markets. He was responding to what he called “dramatic figures” forecasting rising budget deficits in the Netherlands and Spain.

Mr Van Rompuy did stress that the situation in the Netherlands and Belgium couldn’t be compared to that in Spain. He repeated though that the countries had to keep their budgets on track.

Criticism German Chancellor Angela Merkel was also highly critical on the Netherlands. She said the accord signed by 25 of the EU’s 27 member states on Friday which enforces stricter budgetary discipline had to prove itself in the next two years. Countries such as the Netherlands and Spain shouldn’t reckon on an easing of the rules.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte agreed that the Netherlands would have to keep to the rules, but he pointed out that there was room for manoeuvre within the EU budgetary regulations. It is for the European Commission to decide whether the Netherlands is fulfilling its agreements.

Read more on the forecast Dutch deficit

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