Further development of Top Sectors in Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation Budget for 2013

The Dutch Government is continuing its policy of strengthening growth potential. This will increase economic resilience and enable businesses to exploit opportunities in emerging markets, even in these times of economic uncertainty. To achieve this, the top sectors of the Dutch economy will be further developed, as announced in the policy agenda of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation.

1. Strengthening the top sectors

Over the coming year €2.8 billion will be earmarked for research into innovative products and services. Of this amount, €1.8 billion will come from the private sector, as laid down in innovation contracts between knowledge institutes, businesses and the 9 top sectors. To give additional impulse to the international ambitions of the top sectors, the Ministry is organising 17 trade missions, primarily to those countries where businesses in the top sectors see growth potential.

2. Giving space to entrepreneurs

In 2013 the Government will cut administrative costs amounting to almost €110 million by tackling unnecessary rules and bureaucracy. This gives entrepreneurs the space to innovate and invest. For example, the cost of administering nature policy has been reduced by 5% and enforcement costs by 8%.

3. Easier credit

It is particularly difficult for small, innovative businesses and start-ups to find funding. For this reason the Ministry is extending its SME+ Innovation Fund and increasing the budget of the Guarantee scheme for SMEs to €1 billion. From 2013 businesses will be able to make use of this scheme from other financiers as well as banks.

4. Nature

In 2013 nature policy will be further decentralised to the provinces. This will enable provincial governments to find tailor-made solutions for the development and management of their own nature areas. In 2013 economic activity in and around the Natura-2000 areas will be made possible by preparing agreements about reducing and sharing nitrogen emissions, while avoiding damage to nature.

5. Sustainable production in agriculture, horticulture and fisheries

In 2013 the use of antibiotics in livestock production must be reduced by 50% compared to 2009 and in 2015 must be reduced further, by 70%. In 2013 the European Union will determine Common Agricultural Policy for the coming years. The Netherlands is committed to simplification of the rules and to flexible and green measurements for farmers.

6. Commitment to sustainable energy

The Ministry continues to provide incentives for generating sustainable energy. Next year €1.4 billion will be made available for this aim through the Sustainable Energy Incentive Scheme. The aim of the SDE+ scheme is to achieve a balanced mix of energy with growth in the share of sustainably produced energy from 4% to 14% by 2020. Private householders who install solar panels to meet their own energy needs can recover some of the costs next year, with €30 million  earmarked for this purpose.