Thursday

19th Oct 2017

Dutch MPs reject request to probe euro introduction

  • In 1997, then finance minister of the Netherlands Gerrit Zalm presented the euro coins in Amsterdam. (Photo: European Commission)

MPs representing a majority in the Lower House of the Dutch parliament rejected (1 February) a citizens' request on Wednesday to investigate why the Netherlands decided to join the euro.

They all complimented the people behind the citizens' initiative, whose 45,000 signatures forced the parliament to debate the idea.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

But MPs from the ruling centre-right Liberals and centre-left Labour party, and those from two pro-European opposition parties, opposed the suggestion to interrogate former prime ministers Wim Kok and Ruud Lubbers, and former finance minister Gerrit Zalm on why they decided to join the monetary union.

The citizens behind the request said they feared the risks of the euro's introduction were hidden from the public.

While the outcome was no huge surprise, the debate showcased the different attitudes in parliament towards European integration, exactly six weeks before the Dutch go to the polls to elect a new Lower House.

Labour MP Henk Nijboer said the decision to adopt the euro “was taken democratically” and with plenty of public debate.

He said that the negative risks - like very diverse economies being tied to each other without the option to devaluate their currencies - had been considered.

His colleague Wouter Koolmees, of the strongly pro-EU D66 centrist party, said an inquiry would be a “waste of time”.

He also noted that the two representatives of the citizens' initiative have in the meantime set up a political party and will try to get elected as MPs this March.

Their party, the Forum for Democracy, is opposed to Dutch membership of the EU and the eurozone.

“They have already reached their conclusion,” said Koolmees. “The parliament should not be abused for a political show.”

Forum for Democracy's frontman, Thierry Baudet, spoke to EUobserver ahead of the debate.

“In the 1990s, when the European currency was introduced, there was never a debate about the extreme costs that would be associated with it,” said Baudet.

“We are missing out on economic growth, we have lost our democratic control. That is a huge drama. If they [the Dutch political leaders at the time] knew this would happen, then they lied to us,” he added.

Baudet, who defended the idea in parliament on Wednesday, conceded to this website that the citizens' initiative was partly a desire to know the truth and partly a publicity vehicle for his party during the election campaign.

“It's both. Look, I will not deny that it will have an affect on our campaign. If we could convince more people of our political position by finding the truth, then that just means our political position is in line with the truth.”

During the debate, he received support from several opposition MPs who are sceptical of the European Union.

Tony van Dijck, of the far-right Party for Freedom, said the euro “never should have been adopted”.

Carola Schouten, of the socially conservative ChristianUnion, said the euro caused a “discord” between northern and southern European countries.

“The experiment with the euro has failed,” said the leader of the ecological Party for Animals Marianne Thieme.

Finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem, a member of the Labour party and also head of the Eurogroup, also spoke.

He said that it was unfair to blame the euro for the past years' of economic and financial crisis.

He also noted that before the euro, the separate currencies of European countries were often victim of speculators trying to play them against each other. “Our memory is short,” he said.

Dutch had euro-exit plan at height of crisis

Details have emerged indicating that both the Dutch and German governments were preparing emergency plans for a return to their national currencies at the height of the euro crisis.

Spain points at elections as exit to Catalan crisis

Spanish political leaders called on Catalan separatists to organise regional elections as a way to avoid emergency measures due to be taken on Thursday. That's "not on the table", a Catalan official replied.

News in Brief

  1. Spanish government to decide Saturday on Catalonia measures
  2. EU court confirms freezing of Yanukovych funds
  3. UK PM appeals to EU citizens
  4. Catalan leader sends independence ultimatum
  5. Madrid eyes early elections as solution to Catalan crisis
  6. Merkel starts coalition talks to form government by December
  7. Iceland confirms long-standing EU opposition, poll shows
  8. EU summit moved to previous building after fumes scare

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EU2017EENorth Korea Leaves Europe No Choice, Says Estonian Foreign Minister Sven Mikser
  2. Mission of China to the EUZhang Ming Appointed New Ambassador of the Mission of China to the EU
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsEU Should Seek Concrete Commitments From Azerbaijan at Human Rights Dialogue
  4. European Jewish CongressEJC Calls for New Austrian Government to Exclude Extremist Freedom Party
  5. CES - Silicones EuropeIn Healthcare, Silicones Are the Frontrunner. And That's a Good Thing!
  6. EU2017EEEuropean Space Week 2017 in Tallinn from November 3-9. Register Now!
  7. European Entrepreneurs CEA-PMEMobiliseSME Exchange Programme Open Doors for 400 Companies Across Europe
  8. CECEE-Privacy Regulation – Hands off M2M Communication!
  9. ILGA-EuropeHealth4LGBTI: Reducing Health Inequalities Experienced by LGBTI People
  10. EU2017EEEHealth: A Tool for More Equal Health
  11. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Tourism a Key Driver for Job Creation and Enhanced Competitiveness
  12. CECENon-Harmonised Homologation of Mobile Machinery Costs € 90 Million per Year