Dutch coalition could fall amid budget fight

City A.M. Reporter
THE DUTCH government could fall today after the ruling coalition failed to come to an agreement on the budget over the weekend.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte said that crucial talks on budget cuts had collapsed after his ally Geert Wilders refused to do a deal, and that new elections were inevitable.

In the short term, the government must seek support for budget cuts from the opposition parties.

But uncertainty over the makeup of a new government, and waning voter support for bailouts and austerity measures, raised questions over Dutch backing for a fiscal responsibility pact seen as crucial to helping Europe cope with its debt crisis.

The catalyst for the crisis was Wilders, who refused to agree to budget cuts of €14bn (£11.5bn) to €16bn of budget cuts needed to bring a bloated budget deficit under control.