Cabinet cutting €2.2 billion from climate, development funds to push into Defense: report
The Cabinet will push 2.4 billion euros extra into the Ministry of Defense to get the defense spending up to NATO standards. And the lion's share of that money will come from cuts in the Climate-, Nitrogen-, and Wopke-Wiebes Funds, sources close to the Cabinet told De Telegraaf.
Defense will reportedly get 2.4 billion euros extra per year, putting it one big step closer to the NATO standard of spending 2 percent of GDP on the armed forces. According to the newspaper's sources, 2.2 billion euros of that will come from cuts to the funds meant to fund climate measures, cut nitrogen emissions and create more room for construction, and for knowledge development, infrastructure, research, and innovation. The Climate Fund will bleed a little more than the other two.
De Telegraaf's sources said that the goals of those funds remain unchanged, but the coalition wants to see whether these goals can be achieved with less money. One source added that it is already questionable whether the money in those funds can be spent due to shortages in the labor market.
Over the past weeks, the VVD, D66, CDA, and ChristenUnie have been working on the Spring Memorandum - the update on the annual budget. They've been scrambling to fill a gap of billions of euros caused by the war in Ukraine, inflation, and billions in compensation for the savings tax. The Cabinet has also been trying to work with some opposition parties, as they need support to get a majority in the Eerste Kamer, the Dutch Senate.
The Cabinet is reportedly planning to increase the minimum wage more quickly - one of the demands of left-wing opposition parties GroenLinks and PvdA. The coalition agreement stated that the minimum wage would increase a total of 7.5 percent starting from 1 January 2024. The first step will now be taken in 2023, rising 2.5 percent. The minimum wage will increase another 2.5 percent in 2024 and again in 2025.