Dutch voters appear likely to head back to the polls after the government failed to come to an agreement on a proposed austerity package Saturday, according to AFP. Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced the breakdown in negotiations, saying the efforts of the coalition team, which was made up of members from three political parties, had collapsed.
Here is some of the information.
* The discussions aimed at cutting 16 billion euros from the nation's budget began March 5. They were slated to last three weeks.
* Euronews reported discussions ended when Geert Wilders walked out of the negotiations, taking the cooperation of the Freedom Party with him.
* Rutte is head of the Liberal Party, which does not have a majority in the government.
* The talks were supposed to be a cooperative effort among the Liberal Party, the Christian Democrats, and the Freedom Party.
* The Netherlands' AAA credit rating is in danger of being downgraded if austerity measures are not enacted. The nation's debt is at 4.6 percent of gross domestic product, well above the 3 percent ceiling that has been imposed on all European Union member-nations.
* Despite its debt problems, the Netherlands has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the European Union.
* Finance Minister Jan Kees de Jager and Rutte indicated austerity mandates would still be discussed with parliament, with Rutte asserting he would like a package in place before national elections.
* If efforts to negotiate a new package fail to get the support of the majority of parliament, then voters will have to head to the polls, according to BBC News.
* Wilders said his objections were the reforms likely would damage the nation's economic growth and they unfairly burdened older people and would inhibit spending.
* Even without the approval of Wilders' Freedom Party, an austerity package can still be enacted if it garners the support of a majority in parliament.
Vanessa Evans is a musician, traveler, and freelance writer with an interest in European studies and events.
- Politics & Government
- Geert Wilders