Zijlstra Starts Negotiations

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“Stop these kind of calls to citizens,” said VVD leader Halbe Zijlstra to Jeroen Dijsselbloem Minister of Finance and his ‘own’ VVD Prime Minister Mark Rutte today. In the Telegraaf he says he doesn’t agree with the request of the government and coalition partner PvdA, to let citizens use their money to stimulate the economy. Zijlstra starts with his criticism, a round of new negotiations between the coalition partners in order to fill in the extra 6 billion euro of cuts this autumn.

The optimistic arguments began in April when Prime Minister Rutte together with employers and employees presented the social agreement. That agreement, according to the Prime Minister, gave a boost of confidence to the economy. Part of the agreement was that the previously announced cuts were off the table. Rutte envisioned a "green haze" of economic recovery and called the Dutch on television to 'beat the CPB’ together.

'Give it out, invest '

Recently both Diederik Samsom and Jeroen Dijsselbloem openly supported the call of Rutte. In the Volkskrant PvdA leader Samsom called more tax breaks to make people more willing to use their savings. Dijsselbloem called particularly the wealthy elderly part of the population, to let their money roll. “That capital we would like to mobilize. Give it out, invest, give it to your children or grand children,” said the minister.

The opposition was not happy with these optimistic calls. And so now, the VVD, one of the coalition partners joins the criticism of the opposition. Zijlstra believes that the government should give a good example by spending less money by themselves. “The Dutch know pretty sure that the government is the one who spends too much. As long as they don’t show the way, people will never give in to the calls,” Zijlstra said in the Telegraaf today. According to the VVD leader it is no use that the government is just screaming something, they should come up with concrete measures.

The VVD leader already showed last month that he was not charmed of the proposals of  Samsom, to tempt citizens to spend more. He thinks that the government should focus on  investments that will boost the economy.


All the discussions and bickering among the coalition partners about the subject doesn’t seem to do little good. The economy is not yet back on the track and there are additional cuts and tax increases of 6 billion announced in order to meet European budget agreements in 2014.

Today the top of the government and party leaders Samsom and Zijlstra have started to negotiate about  those extra 6 billion cuts for next year. Zijlstra took with his criticism a solid advance on this discussion. He would rather not spend money directly to boost consumption, but stimulate specific sectors. Zijlstra calls for structural measures such as investment in construction and cutting the costs of care, benefits and allowances.