Verhagen: EU needs strict budget discipline

The Netherlands believes that EU countries should reduce their deficits and debts, and that automatic sanctions should be imposed if they break the rules. Deputy prime minister Maxime Verhagen delivered this message after the cabinet had met to discuss the informal European Council taking place in Brussels on Monday 30 January.

The European Council will also discuss economic growth. Growth can be boosted by expanding the internal market, especially the services and internet markets.

EU patent

Mr Verhagen said that the Netherlands will urge the European Council to reach a decision on the EU patent. A Community patent would enable Dutch companies with innovative products and services to cut costs.

Prime minister Mark Rutte is currently at the World Economic Forum in Davos to discuss economic problems and opportunities worldwide.

Strengthening the economy

Mr Verhagen said that the government is working ‘tooth and nail’ to stimulate the growth of the Dutch economy. It is focusing hard on certain top economic sectors, strengthening cooperation between government authorities, knowledge institutions and businesses, and cutting red tape.

Ban on face coverings

The cabinet has decided to go ahead with its efforts to ban clothing that covers the face. The bill will be sent to the House of Representatives. The government believes that people should be able to look one another in the face when in public.

Veterans

The cabinet also decided to take over a private member’s bill on veterans. The legislation will ensure that veterans, members of the military and their families receive the support they are entitled to.