Dutch owe EU extra 200€ million; "Crazy" says opposition

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No image availableNL Times

The government may have additional financial obligations to the EU. The new calculations by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) show that economic output in 2011 and 2012 was higher than previously estimated. This would require the Netherlands to pay more in contributions to the European Union.

The finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem and the economics minister Henk Kamp addressed the issue in a letter to the parliament on Wednesday.

CBS reported on Wednesday that the Dutch GDP was 0.7% higher in 2012 than originally thought. That means that the economy shrank by 1.1 percent instead of 1.6% as previously estimated. The adjustment also affects the size of economic growth in 2013 and 2014. The final data on those years is to be presented by CBS in summer. The final amount due is to be determined in autumn.

“Firstly, a higher gross national income is in itself good news for the Netherlands,” Jeroen Dijssebloem commented on the issue. “The income that we earn together is greater than previously thought.” He added that on the basis of Statistics Netherlands calculations, the government may have to consider a higher EU payment.

Opposition parties reacted less positively. "This is always a chaotic process with recalculations and surcharges," Wouter Kolomees, a D66 MP, is quoted saying in Trouw. "This shows once again that our government really needs to get started with an adjustment of the system."

Socialist party MP Arnold Merkies called the retroactive calculation "too crazy for words". "It cannot be that we have to pay back more because we with our statistical office are the best boy in class," he said. "I will ask for clarifications from the minister."