Dutch government brokers deal with opposition parties to secure austerity budget's passage

THE HAGUE, Netherlands – Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s coalition has brokered a deal with opposition parties to ensure its austere budget for 2014 passes the Senate, where the government does not have a majority.

The deal announced Friday night followed 10 days of tense, behind-closed-doors negotiations with opposition parties over a budget that includes some 6 billion euros ($8.14 billion) in spending cuts aimed at reining in the country’s deficit.

Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem says the budget “is now as solid as a rock” after the two-party coalition made concessions to the centrist party D66 and two small Christian-based parties to ensure their support in the Senate.

D66 leader Alexander Pechtold says the revised budget plans mean “more jobs, a strengthening of the economy and a restoration of confidence.”