dutch parliament reaches austerity deal
Last Updated : GMT 06:41:18
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Dutch parliament reaches austerity deal

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Dutch parliament reaches austerity deal

Paris - AFP

The Dutch parliament on Thursday reached agreement on an austerity programme demanded by the EU, parliamentary group leaders said, days after the government collapsed over the measures. \"We have reached an agreement,\" Stef Blok, head of the liberal VVD group, the party of outgoing Prime Minister Mark Rutte, told parliament. Blok said five political parties from across a wide political spectrum had reached the deal and a vote on the austerity law set for later in the evening should be a formality. \"It now seems possible that the Netherlands will send a letter tonight to Brussels,\" said Sybrand van Haersma Buma, head of the Christian Democrat group, just before a debate on the austerity measures. Rutte\'s outgoing government lost its functioning majority in the Dutch lower house after Geert Wilders, the leader of the far-right Freedom Party, pulled away his support for austerity cuts needed to meet European Union deficit rules. Although not part of Rutte\'s coalition, the Freedom Party had been an ally in parliament and thus ensured the government\'s survival. The law is to include measures to reduce the country\'s public deficit, which reached 4.7 percent last year, to within the EU ceiling of 3.0 percent of gross domestic product. In addition to Rutte\'s VVD and the Christian Democrats, the bill is supported by centrists of the D66, an environmentalist party and the Christian party ChristenUnie. The five parties, representing 77 seats in the 150-seat house, agreed on measures that include a sales tax hike, health care cuts and a pay freeze for civil servants, Dutch media said.

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