Decentralisation spreads over Europe. It started approximately a decennium ago with the election of Mrs Margaret Thatcher as Prime Minister of Britain. She initiated a large number of privatisations and decentralisations of governmental responsibilities given the enormous federal deficit and the poor condition of the British economy. At the same time, the end of the 70s, the beginning of the 80s, the Dutch faced similar problems: an excessively large governmental deficit, an increasing number of civil servants, high unemployment rates, an overstretched social security system and a somewhat unstable economy. By the mid 80s a worldwide economic boom ensued, during which the Dutch economy was growing at average rates of 2–3 percent a year, reducing the urge in the Netherlands to make structural choices. The system itself was not changed.
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