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EU may ease extent of Dutch net contributions


Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

BRUSSELS Ė The value of net payments to the European Union by member states are a significant issue for Dutch governments. Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands are the largest net contributors, Germany with a net amount of 8 billion euros, the Netherlands with more than 2 billion. Per person, the Danes contribute a similar amount. Outgoing Prime Minister Jan Pieter Balkenende already negotiated a reduction to the amount the Dutch sent to Brussels some years ago. The incoming cabinet, likely to be headed by Mark Rutte, expects to negotiate a lower net amount as well, since it is actually identified as an objective in the newly reached accord with the Christian Democrats (CDA) and Geert Wilders Freedom Party faction. The accord calls for a saving of one billion euros. EUís budget commissioner Janusz Lewandowski has signaled that he is open to a review of the matter. EUís largest recipients of funds are Poland, Greece and the former Soviet bloc member states. Other larger net contributors are France, Italy, Sweden, Austria and the U.K. Meanwhile, opinion polls conducted in Iceland, regarding its membership in the EU, reveal that a two-thirds majority of the public now support that move. The union movement across the EU is not happy with the EUís campaign to control spending. Tens of thousands descended on Brussels to protest austerity measures, which are resulting in cutbacks in nations which stimulated their economy during the recent financial crisis.