S&P downgrades Netherlands credit rating on weak growth outlook; Dijsselbloem "disappointed"

Standard & Poor's has stripped the Netherlands of its triple-A credit rating, saying that the country's growth prospects have deteriorated and it is not performing as well as peers.

After the credit agency's move Friday to downgrade the country to AA+, the only eurozone countries with AAA ratings from S&P are Germany, Finland and Luxembourg. The Netherlands' finance minister, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, said the downgrade was unsurprising "but disappointing."

Dijsselbloem, who is also president of the Eurogroup of finance ministers, has prescribed spending cuts and tax hikes to strengthen Dutch and other European government finances and pave the way for long-term growth. Some economists say such austerity measures are counterproductive during a downturn, but the idea is popular in German-led policy-making circles.