Minister upbeat about 2013 budget deal

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The outgoing minority government coalition says great steps have been made in fleshing out the 2013-budget-deficit deal it struck with opposition parties a fortnight ago.

The deal - ensuring the Dutch 2013 budget deficit stays within the European Union limit of three percent of GDP - was agreed by coalition members, the conservative VVD and the Christian Democrats, and opposition parties, the D66 democrats, Green Left and the Christian Union.

The parties reached agreement within two days after the government fell on 22 April and were able to deliver the outline accord to the European Commission just before the 30 April deadline. Missing the deadline would have risked an enormous fine from Brussels.

Details ready in a week They now say details of all the measures contained in the deal will be ready to go to the Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis CPB in a week’s time. The CPB will investigate what effects the measures will have on the Dutch economy.

At the end of the month, MPs will be able to debate the detailed package of measures. Around 12 billion euros’ worth of savings will include cutbacks in healthcare and the swifter introduction of a longer working life.

Caretaker Finance Minister Jan Kees de Jager said the parties involved in what he has dubbed the “Spring Accord” had booked “very considerable progress”. He said the chance that the talks on the deal would founder was “nil”. However, he was willing to give few details away about the measures agreed.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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