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Amsterdam not involved in sale of ABN AMRO

1 October 2008 - Alderman Lodewijk Asscher (economic affairs) is worried about the impact of the financial crisis on the Amsterdam economy. However, there is little he can do himself. This became clear in the city council this afternoon.

Amsterdam is not facing any mass redundancies yet, Asscher said. However, the financial sector amounts to 15% of the local economy, which is therefore vulnerable to the impact of the financial crisis. In addition, more expensive loans have an 'enormously restraining effect' on other sectors of the local economy.

Asscher's goal is not to make the city less dependent on the financial sector, but in fact to further promote this sector. He sees opportunities in niche markets such as pension funds and sustainable banking.

For concrete measures, the alderman turns to the national government. In het Parool he advocated tax cuts for pension funds, for companies involved in money transfer and for high-educated expats.

In response to a question of GroenLinks, Asscher said that he plays no role in the planned sale of ABN AMRO, which involves a substantial number of jobs in Amsterdam. The sale is part of a rescue plan for Fortis, which ran into trouble partly as a result of taking over ABN AMRO.

Incidentally, trade union FNV Bondgenoten recently argued that the sale should be postponed until markets have stabilised. The union also wants to nominate a commissioner at Fortis, to prevent workers' interests being overlooked.

See also het Parool, FNV Bondgenoten (both in Dutch)


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