Tense negotiations on the budget have restarted in the Netherlands, after being brought to an early end on Wednesday.
The parties are now in their fourth week of talks which have been faltering due to disagreements over the speed and severity of spending cuts. The government must make at least nine billion euros in savings to bring its budget in line with eurozone requirements by 2013. That is on top of the 18 billion euros already planned by 2015.
Arriving at the meeting, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte appeared reticent to answer questions from journalists about the future of the government.
The Netherlands has talked tough on budgetary discipline, and proposed the expulsion of other eurozone members who violate the rules, so are keen to not do so themselves now.
Troubled by a slump in the housing market, and ailing exports, the country entered a recession in the fourth quarter, and is expected to shrink further in 2012, making it one of Europe’s weaker performers this year.