I. Getting the Netherlands out of the crisis: solid, sound and socially responsible

This government’s financial and socioeconomic policy rests on three essential pillars: putting our public finances in order, ensuring fair distribution and working for sustainable growth. Our prosperity and well-being rest squarely on these pillars. The sacrifices necessary in the years ahead are considerable and come in the wake of policies that have already asked a great deal of individuals and businesses alike. We can only count on public support for the savings we propose if we make fair choices and offer the prospect of viable public finances and a sustainable, healthy economy.

Within the European Union, the Netherlands has consistently argued that countries should put their affairs in order and adhere to the agreements they have made. A sound budgetary policy is also in our own best interest. It will strengthen our position in Europe and in the unlooked-for event of a future crisis it will help us absorb the impact. It will inspire confidence among those who lend us money, reducing in turn the interest rates we have to pay. This will eventually put us in a position to reduce the tax burden on the public and to invest more in research, innovation, sustainability and essential public services like education. In this way we can also ensure that costs are not passed on to future generations if this can be avoided.

The measures set out in annexe A will produce net savings of €16 billion, in accordance with the recommendations of the Budget Margin Study Group.

On the basis of the effects of the coalition agreement (including the baseline), the median purchasing power of people on below-average incomes will rise by an average of 0.2% per year. The median purchasing power of people whose income is three times the average will fall by an average of 0.6% per year.

The Coalition Agreement will be incorporated in the budget using the figures in the financial annexe. Spending reductions will be recorded in the relevant budget chapter. Spending increases will be recorded for the time being in the supplementary budget item. The frameworks for revenue and expenditure at the time the government takes office are based on the overview of taxation and expenditure set out in annexe A.

We are committed to a trend-based budgetary policy with a strict dividing line between revenue and expenditure. The budgetary rules are set out in annexe B.