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Rutte Says Netherlands in Difficult Times, Unemployment to Rise

Sept. 2 (Bloomberg) -- The Netherlands is going through extraordinarily difficult economic times and unemployment will continue to rise for some time, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said.

“Radical changes will come to the Netherlands,” Rutte said in a lecture in Amsterdam today. “We stand for fundamental choices, and we need to make the right ones.”

The government will unveil a plan to save 6 billion euros ($7.9 billion) in parliament on Sept. 17. That’s on top of a four-year, 16 billion-euro austerity package approved in November when Rutte took office. The Dutch economy, in its third recession since the financial crisis started in 2008, shrank 0.2 percent in the second quarter.

Rutte’s government, which comprises his Liberal Party and the Labor Party, stands at an all-time low in the polls. The coalition would only retain 32 of the 150 seats in parliament if elections were held now, a drop of 47 seats, according to a survey published by polling agency Peil.nl on Aug. 25. The Labor Party would have 12 seats, while Rutte’s Liberal Party would get 20 seats, according to the poll.

To contact the reporter on this story: Fred Pals in Amsterdam at fpals@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Fred Pals at fpals@bloomberg.net

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