Column: In the Netherlands jobs disappear like snow before the sun

According to the latest forecast by the European Commission, the Dutch economy will need years to recover from the coronacrisis. After the expected economic contraction of over 5% in 2020, our economic growth in the following years is lagging behind European countries that are economically performing better. Recent forecasts also show that, partly due to the low growth rates, the Hague is facing a high level of unemployment, a substantial budget deficit, an increasing public debt, but also political conflicts over expenditure.

For example, a high official budget committee recently issued a warning that a new government coalition does not have any financial scope for additional public spending. This expenditure is only possible if there is cuts in other items.

Loss of jobs

This week, the UWV reported that between February and the end of July this year 125,000 jobs were lost as a result of the coronacrisis. At the same time, the number of WW benefits increased sharply, towards the 300,000. Yesterday the Netherlands was delighted by the CBS with a surprisingly strong revival of our economy in the third quarter. Very nice, but those who dive into the figures will see that this growth is far from outweighing the contraction in the first two quarters. Moreover, all signs indicate a rapid rise in unemployment as a result of reorganisations and redundancies in large companies that make almost weekly newspapers. In addition, the international market leader credit insurance, Euler Hermes, argues that 15 to 20% of SMEs are in the risk zone due to liquidity problems.

Election programmes

It is striking that, in the draft programmes that have been published to date, we still see far too little of the alarming social and economic situation of our country. In fact, especially on the left, all the brakes go loose. Although the treasury is empty, the PvdA, GroenLinks and the SP compete with each other to spend as much as possible. These are essentially additional public spending on social security, care, housing shortages, climate, the AOW pension and additional civil servants for a larger and better government. The parties mentioned are not concerned about the financeability of their expensive wishes and certainly not about how we can restore our economy as soon as possible. The Pvda programme is characterised by an abundance of regrets for all the unpleasant measures taken by the party as a coalition partner in the previous cabinet. These regrets include a list of measures which are being reversed, such as the student loan system, the landlord levy, the higher AOW pension age and cuts in, among other things, assistance and disability care. With this party, it seems as if the money is growing on the trees.

Strengthening the economy

Within Europe, we are seeing more and more countries that, in cooperation with their businesses, are launching economic recovery plans whose core is to improve the business location climate through burden-relieving investment companies. But also through joint public-private investments in new technologies, in the climate and smart start-ups and scale-ups. In the Netherlands, we are still waiting for a new cabinet to take the lead in this.


we rely on the concept electoral programmes, we can expect little from the left. On balance, these parties do not want to spend public money on a good business setting environment and stimulating business investment. Their list of additional public spending should be financed through tax increases on companies, higher incomes and people with wealth. The SP also wants to further deteriorate the Dutch economy by exiting the EU.

No money

Links does not spend any extra money on the balance to drive the necessary business investments. On the contrary, these parties are hostile to business, particularly international ones. They want to finance the many billions of extra public spending mainly with substantial increases in the burden on business. They also mistakenly believe that we can boost and strengthen the Dutch economy with low-paid public jobs (a kind of Melkertbanen from old times) and extensive in-service programmes. be more than a drop on a glowing plate.

In the opinion page of the NRC Paul de Beer, a special professor of industrial relations, rightly wrote that it is an illusion that we can combat this crisis by using massive retraining and retraining.

Innovative companies

Also, the idea that lives in left-wing circles that you have enough opportunities with you with a larger government to boost the Dutch economy and strengthen earnings for the future is aWish dream. History shows that countries need innovative and creative entrepreneurs for a strong economy, job creation and international competitiveness. It also learns that the economies of countries where politicians and civil servants are going to play entrepreneurial business at the expense of the taxpayers.

After the elections in March 2021, the formation of a new cabinet will show whether the left will realise that the Dutch economy needs smart and investment companies that can also create new jobs for our future. The omens are not unfavorable. Last Thursday, the Labour Party and GroenLinks voted for the so-called Tax Plan of the Cabinet. Part of this plan is also the controversial investment scheme for companies, the so-called BIK discount, which both parties had previously fought on fire and sword.

Willem Vermeend and Rick van der Ploeg are economists and former politicians. Respond? Mail to