Netherlands reaffirms deficit target of 3.0% for 2014

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said Thursday that his government is sticking to its target of bringing its deficit back within EU limits by next year and will not ask the EU for a delay.

"We are endeavouring to bring the budget deficit down to 3.0 percent (of output) in 2014. We're not going to ask for extra time," Rutte told a news conference following a meeting here with his German counterpart, Angela Merkel.

The Netherlands' public deficit came in at 4.1 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) last year, the fourth year in a row it has breached the EU's 3.0 percent ceiling.

The public deficit, which also includes local government and health spending, declined from 4.5 percent of gross domestic product in 2011 and a high of 5.6 percent in 2009.

The country is implementing a programme of spending cuts in order to squeeze the deficit back under the 3.0 percent ceiling.