Budget Day reactions cast shadow on Dutch leaders' optimism

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The reactions on the Prinsjesdag throne speech and 2016 budget reveal are casting a shadow on the cabinet's optimism. The government's message on Tuesday was very positive - the Netherlands is doing better. But the Dutch newspapers are much more hesitant on Wednesday.

The Telegraaf headlined its reaction with "Ambitions overboard". According to the newspaper, the Rutte II cabinet is done with governing the country. The reaction notes that the throne speech first addressed the "good news" in domestic topics before getting to more pressing issues such as terrorism and refugees. "The choice reflects what the coalition of VVD and PvdA is really engaged with. The parties want to court voters now that the election year 2017 is approaching."

The Financieele Dagblad questions the wisdom behind the decision not to do a tax reform, but implement tax cuts. According to the newspaper, the feeling that lingers after Prinsjesdag is "hoping for the best", or even better, "against my better judgement". The newspaper also points back to Prime Minister Mark Rutte's advice in 2013 - economists warned against too much optimism, but Rutte said that people should spend more. A short time later the government had to announce 6 billion euros in cutbacks.

According to the Volkskrant, Rutte is "turning the music down slightly". The newspaper called it a throne speech without complacency, adding that with the growing economy, rising purchasing power and employment growth, this was the Prime Minister's simplest Prinsjesdag since he took office in 2010.

According to newspaper Trouw, one sentence by Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem sums up the state of the Netherlands. "It's going better, but not good enough".

Newspaper AD finds that King Willem-Alexander gave the throne speech with an "unexpectedly heavy heart". According to the newspaper, he sees a small country under the treat of immigration, war and terrorism. Willem-Alexander emphasized problems across the border, because the "big bad world out there" is the risk.

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