Will Dutch cabinet survive budget talks?

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Dutch government negotiations scheduled to start on Monday are about more than the budget: the very survival of Rutte's cabinet is at stake.

Led by Prime Minister Mark Rutte, members of the conservative VVD, the CDA Christian democrats and the populist Freedom Party will try to find a solution to the budget deficit. The shortfall is expected to rise to 4.5 percent of GDP in 2013 unless additional cuts are made.

Finance Minister Jan Kees de Jager has said he wants the Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis to evaluate the outcome of the negotiations based on both the effect on the budget deficit but also on the economy as a whole.

News channel BNR expects the negotiations will take longer than the planned three weeks due to the large number of politically sensitive issues. And Prime Minister Mark Rutte has already said “We will take as much time as we need.”

The fact that the negotiations are taking place outside parliament is a thorn in the side of Christian Union leader Arie Slob, all the more so because the Freedom Party, which currently supports the minority cabinet in parliament, angrily walked out of the 2009 budget debate for exactly that reason.

However, Prime Minister Rutte has said how the result is achieved is not important:

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