Today is the last Budget Day for the departing Rutte II cabinet. In tradition and ceremony, the day is expected to look like every other Budget Day, with politicians decked out in fancy hats, the Royals arriving at the Ridderzaal in The Hague in a carriage and the famous balcony scene after the throne speech. But given the current VVD and PvdA government's departing status, no big news is expected in the budget. Big changes are left up to the new government.
Almost two thirds of Dutch think that Budget Day is a valuable tradition, according to a study by HR service provider Raet among 1,000 Dutch people. However, two out of three respondents think that Budget Day is completely unnecessary this year, RTL Nieuws reports.
The Hague is putting extra security measures in place for Budget Day next week, paying particular attention to preventing terrorist attacks with vehicles, a spokesperson for the municipality confirmed to NU.nl.
Dutch food and consumer product safety authority NVWA will get an extra 25 million euros next year due to concerns about the authority's capacity following the fipronil contaminated egg scandal, according to RTL Nieuws. The government will announce this extra investment on Budget Day, sources told the broadcaster.
This extra 25 million euros comes on top of the NVWA's current budget of over 300 million euros. According to RTL, the money will be used to hire more food inspectors and to replace outdated computer equipment.
The health insurance premium and mandatory own risk contribution will increase further in the coming years, newspaper Telegraaf and news wire ANP report based on anonymous sources.
The VVD and PvdA may have found a solution to resolving their disagreement about increasing teachers' salaries in the budget for next year, VVD chairman Halbe Zijlstra said before entering the second round of budget talks at the Ministry of Finance on Wednesday afternoon, AD reports.
Exactly what this solution is, he did not say. "We're now going to see if it really is a solution", Zijlstra said to the newspaper.
The negotiations on forming a new Dutch government will happen outside The Hague on Thursday and Friday. The VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie will be meeting on De Zwaluwenberg in Hilversum, the workplace of the Inspector General of the Armed Forces, for those two days, NOS reports.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte understands why his cabinet scores badly with the Dutch public, he said during the second day of the Budget Debate in response to an Ipsos study that showed the government gets an "insufficient" grade of only 5.3. While the economy is recovering, the average person in the Netherlands isn't yet noticing in their wallet that the financial crisis is over
Leaders of the opposition parties in the Netherlands reacted critically to both the National Budget for next year and the King's Budget Day speech. In the General Debate in parliament on Tuesday, the party leaders called it "bragging" and a "good news show"
The Dutch government promised to build bridges, but over the past four years gaps between groups in society is the only thing that happened, CDA leader Sybrand Buma said in an interview with newspaper AD.
On Tuesday Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem of Finance handed next year's budget to parliament. In his Budget Day speech he emphasized that the past years were hard times, but the Netherlands built itself back up. The fourth budget for the Rutte II cabinet shows that there is a strong foundation to build on and that the Netherlands is in a better position than a few years ago, the Volkskrant reports.
Here follows the full translated text of King Willem-Alexander's Budget Day speech, given in The Hague today.
The Netherlands had solid ground under the feet again in recent years. The financial and economic crisis is behind us. We live in a prosperous and attractive country, also in comparison with other countries, and have good facilities, good infrastructure and a strong rule of law. We have a lot to be proud of and to build on.
While the Netherlands is facing many challenges at this time, the financial crisis is behind us and the country is doing better, King Willem-Alexander said in his fourth Budget Day speech from the throne in the Ridderzaal on Tuesday. "Unrest and unease are hallmarks of our time. We must seize the opportunities that the future offers us", the King said, according to the Volkskrant's live blog on Budget Day 2016.
King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima will not be making the trip from the Noordeinde Palace, through The Hague and to the Binnenhof in the Golden Carriage this year. Instead the Royals will make their way to the King's Budget Day speech in the Glass Coach.
The municipality of The Hague advises visitors not to bring any large bags or backpacks when coming to watch Budget Day. "Those who bring a backpack may take longer to pass checks", the municipality writes on its website. "It would be a shame if through multiple checks you miss the passage of the Glass Coach."
For the second year in a row the Dutch government is giving the Budget Day message that the economic crisis is over. But the vast majority of Dutch have seen little or no improvement to their immediate environment, according to a study Ipsos did for NOS.
Fewer trains are traveling between Utrecht Central and Den Haag Central on Tuesday morning due to a damaged railway viaduct, according to NS. People traveling from Utrecht to The Hague for Budget Day, should take extra travel time of between 30 minutes and an hour into account.
At least 10 thousand new cheap rental homes are needed to solve the growing problem of homeless people sleeping on the streets, Cornel Vader, director of the Salvation Army's Care and Welfare Department, said to NOS.
Restoring the Dutch Royal family's Golden Carriage will cost an estimated 1.2 million euros, equerry Bert Wassenaar said on Wednesday during a press briefing on Budget day. According to him, this amount is just the first estimation
Opposition parties in the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, are outraged that parts of the 2017 Budget documents leaked to the media. ChristenUnie leader Gert-Jan Segers called the leak "shameful"
The Dutch government is investing more money to help poor families, the elderly and partners of the chronically ill. The government is also pushing extra money into Defense, according to leaked Budget Day documents RTL Nieuws managed to get hold of.
The government is finalizing the 2017 budget for Prinsjesdag this afternoon. They plan to have everyone see an increase in purchasing power next year, averaging at a 1 percent increase, sources confirmed to RTL.
State Secretary Eric Wiebes of Finance is thinking about lowering the corporate income tax rates in the tax plan for next year, he said at a tax advisers conference on Tuesday. The tax advisers are advocating for lower corporate income tax so they can remain competitive internationally
A few days before Budget Day 2015, the Dutch secret services AIVD and MIVD foiled a possible attack on the building of the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament