Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has submitted his government’s resignation following a collapse in talks on reducing the country’s budget.
Queen Beatrix was reported to have accepted the resignation, but asked all ministers to continue with matters of state for the time being.
The resignation had been widely expected since Saturday, when Geert Wilders far-right Freedom Party walked out of the talks. The budget cuts are aimed at bringing the country’s deficit in line with EU targets.
The austerity measures being discussed were to include a tax increase, a freeze on civil servants’ wages and cuts in healthcare and foreign aid spending.
Without the support of the Freedom Party, Mr. Rutte’s coalition no longer has a majority in parliament.
Adoption of austerity measures has proven controversial throughout the 17-nation euro currency bloc. Thousands of government jobs have been cut, taxes increased and pensions trimmed for retirees. Three countries – Greece, Ireland and Portugal – have been forced to secure international bailouts to avoid defaulting on their debts.