Dutch government quits after austerity talks fail
AMSTERDAM - The Associated PressThe Dutch government quit yesterday after failing to agree on a plan to bring its own deficit in line with EU rules.
The government information service announced Queen Beatrix had accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Mark Rutte and his Cabinet after a meeting in which Rutte told her talks on a new austerity package had failed over the weekend. The resignation has been widely expected since the weekend when Rutte acknowledged that his government’s rift with anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party would likely lead to early elections, otherwise due in May 2015. Rutte is to address parliament today to discuss interim measures to keep public finances in order and schedule new elections. No date for elections was immediately announced, but opposition lawmakers called for a vote as soon as possible.
The Dutch government collapse came a day after the first round election victory of France’s soft-on-austerity socialist candidate François Hollande. It calls into question whether austerity policies that are causing trauma in countries such as Greece, Spain and Portugal can be enforced even in “core” European countries such as France or the Netherlands.