(MENAFN - AFP) Dutch Finance Minister and Eurogroup chairman Jeroen Dijsselbloem said Thursday that he has cancelled a trip to the annual IMF meeting in Washington to attend crucial budget talks at home.
"I will not be going to Washington ... this (budget talks) has more priority," Dijsselbloem told national Dutch broadcaster NOS.
Dijsselbloem was speaking early Thursday after another round of tough discussions aimed at garnering support for an austerity-focused budget in the Upper House.
The Dutch government unveiled its 2014 budget, which included 6.0 billion euros (8.0 bn) in cuts, last month at parliament's official opening.
The plan has majority support in the Liberal-Labour coalition controlled 150-seat Lower House.
But the budget still needs to be approved by the Senate, where Prime Minister Mark Rutte's government has 30 seats and needs eight more votes from smaller parties to obtain a majority.
There have been intense discussions over the last two weeks to get partners on board, including with the progressive pro-European D66, which has five seats in the Senate and two Christian parties which have a combined total of three seats.
On Wednesday pro-environment leftist party GroenLinks walked out of the budget talks, saying it could not reach an agreement on its own demands for it to support the current budget proposal.
The move leaves the Dutch government with little room to manoeuvre as it now needs the support of all the remaining parties to get the budget passed.
"He (Dijsselbloem) has cancelled an important trip," D66 leader Alexander Pechtold said after Dijsselbloem's announcement.
"The Netherlands, as Eurogroup chair there (at the IMF), has an important role, but respect that he's staying -- it gives urgency to all sitting around the table," he added.
Both members of Rutte's People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) and its Labour Party (PvdA) partner have said that the budget cut was inevitable.
The Dutch central planning office (CPB), which assists government in formulating financial policy predicted last month that the Dutch deficit will be 3.3 percent of GDP in 2014 if inclusive of the 6.0 billion euro cut.
This is still above the EU ceiling of 3.0 percent, but is in line with European Commission recommendations.
Last year, Rutte's previous government's far-right parliamentary partner walked out of austerity talks focusing on Europe's long-term bailout plan, prompting Rutte's cabinet to call for new elections.