Dutch Government to Start Talks With Opposition on Austerity
By Maarten van Tartwijk
AMSTERDAM--The Dutch government will start talks with the opposition to secure its backing for an austerity package for 2014, highlighting the public backlash the government faces as it struggles to meet European Union budget rules.
The government needs the opposition's support to push the measures through the Senate, where it lacks a majority. But after a two-day session in the House of Representatives that ended late Thursday, the opposition showed little appetite to back the package.
To end the political stalemate, Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem will enter talks with the opposition to explore alternatives. The negotiations will take place behind closed doors and it could be weeks before a deal is struck, according to local media.
The government last week unveiled a package of 6 billion euros ($8.1 billion) in tax increases and spending cuts to meet EU budget requirements. It is struggling to meet the fiscal targets because of a weak domestic economy.
As a public backlash against austerity grows, opposition parties want to reduce the size of the package, scrap tax increases and adjust planned reforms in the labor market.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte warned the EU could impose a fine if the Netherlands fails to implement 6 billion euros in budget cuts next year. However, Mr. Rutte said he is willing to reconsider some elements of the package, including proposed changes to the tax system.
Write to Maarten van Tartwijk at firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires 09-27-130401ET Copyright (c) 2013 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.