Opposition Unanimous in Calls for Less Cutbacks
THE HAGUE, 25/09/13 - Almost all opposition parties in the Lower House want to allow the budget deficit to rise next year by imposing less tax increases on balance than under the cabinet’s plans.
On Wednesday and Thursday, the House is debating the budget for 2014 presented by the coalition of conservatives (VVD) and Labour (PvdA) last week. After the Christian democrats (CDA) and leftwing Greens (GroenLinks) had already presented their alternative budgets on Monday, centre-left D66 and small Christian party ChristenUnie followed suit on Tuesday.
D66, ChristenUnie and GroenLinks have all opted to allow the budget deficit to rise above the 3.3 percent of GDP projected by the cabinet. Going farthest is GroenLinks, with a deficit of 4.3 percent.
D66 and ChristenUnie believe that the European Commission will be accommodating to the Netherlands if it cuts back less in the short term and actually introduces more structural reforms which will have long-term effects. “We want to keep it balanced, no sprint to the 6 billion" of extra cutbacks envisaged by the cabinet, said D66 leader Alexander Pechtold.
Pechtold proposes easing taxes for families and companies by 2 billion euros in 2014 compared with the plans of the cabinet. ChristenUnie and CDA are opting for easing of 3 billion euros while GroenLinks diverges the most, at 3.5 billion.
Because VVD and PvdA have no majority in the Upper House, the support of other opposition parties is needed by the cabinet in the coming months. ChristenUnie leader Arie Slob advises the cabinet to make a deal with several opposition parties. “I hope that the cabinet will not focus on just one or two parties, but rather seeks broader support.”