Dutch to Invest $24 Billion in Economy With Delayed Fund


The Netherlands is set to invest billions of euros in its economy, carrying out a plan announced several months before the coronavirus outbreak worsened the outlook.

The Dutch government plans to spend 20 billion euros ($24 billion) over five years to improve its infrastructure and spur research and development, according to a statement Monday. This money, which will be allocated by a national investment fund, will help address an aging population, climate change and low productivity growth.

The move, outlined a year ago, is another step away from an era of austerity in the Netherlands. To soften the impact of the pandemic, the government has helped prop up companies including Air France-KLM and by the end of July, it had earmarked 37 billion euros for this year to finance emergency measures.

“We need to act now if we’re going to achieve sustainable earnings capacity for the future,” Economic Affairs Minister Eric Wiebes said at a press conference in Amsterdam.

New national elections are due to be held in the Netherlands in March 2021.

An independent commission will be tasked with reviewing investment proposals. Members will include Prince Constantijn, ING Groep NV Chief Economist Marieke Blom, and former Eurogroep head Jeroen Dijsselbloem.

The government may extend the program beyond five years, Wiebes and Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra said at the briefing. If that’s the case, it would aim to keep investing around 4 billion euros a year.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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