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Dutch budget office lowers economic forecasts

AMSTERDAM (AP) -- The Netherlands' independent budget planning office has lowered its economic forecasts for 2013 and says the government will run a 3.7 percent deficit in 2014 — above the 3 percent limit set by European rules.

The Central Planning Bureau says the economy will contract by 1 percent this year, from an earlier estimate of 0.5 percent.

The Cabinet is examining new measures to shrink the deficit, but it is not clear it can muster enough support for them to pass Parliament. Many economists say a new round of spending cuts would do more harm than good.

Opposition lawmaker Geert Wilders accused the government of "budget-cutting our fine country to pieces."

Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem insisted new cuts are necessary. "The time for easy solutions has really passed," he said Friday.