Hague crisis negotiations reach a head

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Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende is satisfied with the status of the economic crisis negotiations.

THE HAGUE—Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende announced on Wednesday that negotiations with the governing parties on ways to handle the economic crisis had reached a decisive stage.

He said he had made a final proposal to his party's negotiators and was now ready bring the talks to a conclusion. However, sources in The Hague suggest that not everyone is prepared to accept the prime minister's compromise formula. Labour Party leader Mariëtte Hamer said that there was still much to discuss.

The talks between the three coalition parties, the Christian Democrats, Labour Party and Christian Union, were originally expected to reach a quick conclusion — after all, the crisis called for decisive action — but it soon became apparent that the differences between the parties were proving difficult to resolve.

The Labour Party sees investment as the key to economic recovery, but the Christian Democrats think any investment should be matched by cutbacks from 2011 to stop the budget deficit from spiralling out of hand.

On Thursday and Friday Balkenende will be away in Brussels, on European Union business, and on Saturday his party the Christian Democrats will hold a conference. This means the coalition talks on the economic crisis will continue on Monday, entering their third week.

Radio Netherlands/Expatica

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