Rutte Answers Questions House
Prime Minister Rutte debated more than six hours today with the opposition about the plans for 2014. No final commitments were done, so what was achieved?
The most tangible measure: the government wants to reduce the cuts for the intelligence service AIVD next year with 10 million and then halve the cuts in the following years . Condition is that for the deletion of this cuttings, replacements can be found elsewhere in the budget of Interior Affairs. The AIVD will already have savings starting next year. According to current plans, the budget of the AIVD will be 23 million less in 2015. In 2018 they must have cut a total of 70 million Euro.
Rutte also made two concessions to the SGP. There will be more money and support for caregivers than the government envisioned. The government will try to find a way how to do something about the lay offs at Defense.
Excise duties, Education and Family related measures
Rutte is willing to talk about and reconsider the excise tax on diesel, LPG and alcoholic beverages.
The Prime Minister was also positive about the idea put forward by the CDA to freeze the cuttings at the moment that the budget deficit reaches the 3% rule of the EU. However to do such a freeze automatically might be risky, according to Rutte.
Samsom told D66 that the coalition is willing to consider ideas about spending more money on education, an important issue for D66. D66 wants an extra half a billion for education. The government has also granted a request from D66 to investigate the position and operation of the Senate.
Rutte also announced that he is willing to look at two ChristenUnie proposals. One is the improvement for the survivor benefits (ANW) and the other issue is the compensation for parents with disabled children living at home (TOG). However it is not clear yet how to make the changes.
GroenLinks filed a motion to spend an extra 100 million o childcare. The motion is also signed by the PvdA. The government has reduced the childcare allowance, but GroenLinks wants to reduce the effects of the income for the lowest incomes.
It was decided, after a proposal from Rutte, to not yet vote on this motion but to wait until the government has found a way how to get the money for this.
Rutte reached also a hand to the CDA to reduce the extra costs for freelancers by trying to find alternatives.
Further talking necessary
Although most group leaders were muttering that no final things could be decided, the overall feeling was that there were openings. At least according to the five constructive parties, SGP, ChristenUnie, CDA, GroenLinks and D66.
VVD leader Zijlstra let know that the coalition parties 'who have been constructive' will be invite for negotiations. Samsom and Zijlstra further stated that the Discussion on the finances which was planned for next week will be delayed by a week to give room for thorough negotiations.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte found Minister of Finance Jeroen Dijsselbloem willing to start negotiations with the constructive opposition parties.
Final remarks budget discussion
It seems that the larger opposition parties, SP and PVV, who were so eager to file, and voted in favor of, a motion of no confidence in the government, have put themselves outside the playing field.
The government is restricted by the 6 billion cuts on the one side and the Social Agreement on the other side.
The Prime Minister closed the budget discussion with the following words:
“It was a very helpful debate and I thank the opposition parties for their valuable input. It is in the genes of our society that we need each other and we know how to find each other when it is really necessary. The government will continue the discussion with you and thanks the House very much for this debate.