Van Rompuy: Dutch overdramatize deficit

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The Netherlands should not exaggerate the effort required to reduce the budget deficit from 4.5 to 3 percent, says European Council President Herman van Rompuy.

“Budget cuts worth 1.5 percent can't ruin the economy,” he said on a Dutch television programme.

“Other countries are doing the same. I wouldn't exaggerate Holland's effort,” he added. In 2010, he noted, his own country, Belgium, reduced its budget deficit by 1.7 percent. “And this year Belgium has to bring it down from 4.1 to 2.8 percent.”

Unless the government changes its policies, recent figures suggest that the Dutch budget deficit will rise to 4.5 percent in 2013, well over the EU limit of 3 percent. On Monday, the minority cabinet's pro-business VVD and Christian Democrat parties will begin negotiations with Geert Wilders' anti-EU Freedom Party, which backs the coalition in parliament, to discuss ways of tackling the matter.

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