Prime Minister Rutte dismisses opposition criticism

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Prime Minister Mark Rutte has dismissed criticism by the opposition that his coalition agreement does not put forward any major reforms.

During the second day of debate in parliament about the new coalition agreement, he pointed out changes will be made to benefits for the handicapped, the pension age will be increased, regional police corps will be replaced by a national force and teachers will be paid for performance in the future. The prime minister admitted that unemployment benefit and dismissal legislation have not been changed.

Green Left leader Femke Halsema retorted that creating a national police force would not have a long-term effect, and would not help create jobs or put government finances back in order.

Mr Rutte stressed that 80 percent of his brief to get the budget under control and accommodate for the cost of aging had been achieved. That meant improving the government's financial position by 29 billion euros, he says his policies will yield 24 billion euros.



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