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Netherlands announces €17bn package for hard-hit households

The Dutch government on Tuesday announced an “unprecedented” €17.2 billion package to help citizens facing high energy prices and double-digit inflation from the ongoing Ukraine civil war.

King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands unveiled the package when convening parliament in The Hague. It came as public cheers and heckles and polls showed waning confidence in Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s government.

“The direct result of the war and international sanctions against Russia is that gas, electricity and food have become significantly more expensive,” the king said in his speech.

According to the new 2023 budget outline, the government will make available €17.2 billion next year, and another €4.9 billion next year.

Inflation in the Netherlands was 12% in August, 3% higher than the European Union average and the highest since the 1970s, according to the Dutch Central Statistical Office (CBS).

According to CBS, energy prices rose a staggering 170% in August and electricity prices rose a staggering 149%.

To combat this impact, the Dutch government has announced gas and electricity price caps that will be introduced from January 1st.

– cheers and heckles –

This year’s opening of the Houses of Parliament was the first time the public was allowed to line up on the route between the Royal Palace and the Royal Theater in The Hague since the outbreak of the 2020 coronavirus pandemic.

Thousands of onlookers, many dressed in orange, thronged the streets to watch the King drive past.

However, there were also hoots from members of the crowd, some waving upside-down Dutch flags. This is a symbol of dissatisfaction among Prime Minister Rutte’s government, especially among the farmers.

Several polls released by the state broadcaster NOS, including one conducted by the EenVandaag current affairs program among 30,000 respondents, “showed very low confidence in politics.”

According to an EenVandaag poll, only 15% of respondents trust the government.

Rising inflation, energy prices stemming from Russia’s war in Ukraine, housing shortages and anger over the government’s climate change plans all contributed to a loss of trust, according to polls.

“We are here today to tell the government that things cannot go on like this,” farmer Jan Orsturn, 40, told AFP.

“We are standing with our backs to the wall,” said Olstuern, who wore a T-shirt with an upside-down Dutch flag.


https://www.expatica.com/nl/general/dutch-unveil-17-bn-euro-package-for-hard-hit-households-312415/ Netherlands announces €17bn package for hard-hit households

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