Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Dutch opposition rejects budget cuts, crisis deepens

(Reuters) - The biggest Dutch opposition parties refused on Tuesday to back austerity cuts needed to meet EU budget targets after the government fell, deepening the crisis in a nation probably facing a long period of uncertainty until elections.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte, whose minority government collapsed on Monday, must now turn to a clutch of tiny parties for help if he is to have any chance of forcing his plan for 14 to 16 billion euros in budget cuts through parliament.

With doubts growing across Europe about the price of austerity, parties to Rutte's left said trying to meet the European Union's deficit target would hurt the economy and the Dutch people.

To Rutte's right, Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders - who brought down the coalition by refusing to support the cuts - declared that the elections would be a referendum on the EU and Dutch sovereignty. Read More