Saturday

23rd Mar 2019

Dutch support for eurozone rescue plan at risk

Adding to uncertainty over the fate of the latest eurozone rescue plan after Greece announced it will seek the approval of its people in a referendum, the Dutch parliament on Tuesday (1 November) said it will not yet support the plan.

“There are too many loose ends,” said Ronald Plasterk, the Labour Party’s spokesperson for financial affairs, during a late-night debate with the government. “The package isn’t strong enough and is practically off the table now that the Greeks have bombed it.”

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  • A majority of Dutch people are opposed to further bail-outs (Photo: EUobserver)

Earlier in the day, Plasterk called the Greek referendum “a deal-breaker”. “It cannot be that we work for months on the details of the rescue package, only to find out in January whether the very people it is intended to help even want it or not. I am very sorry, but a referendum is not an option.”

Labour’s support is crucial for the rescue package to pass in parliament. The country’s minority government normally relies on the support of the staunchly anti-EU Freedom Party, who on Tuesday called the latest episode in the eurocrisis saga “a farce” and wished the government “lots of luck”.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte said he is not yet asking the parliament for approval, but confirmed that he will put the rescue package to a vote as soon as details had been worked out. He said the sudden referendum announcement by George Papandreou, Greece’s prime minister, was “very unfortunate” and that he would “do everything in his power to stop the referendum from happening”.

The parliament’s reticence comes after growing discontent among Dutch voters about what is perceived as money flowing abroad.

According to a new poll published on Sunday, half the respondents feel that the bail-out money would be better spent on domestic issues while almost 80 percent believe more money will be needed in the future. Two thirds said it would be better for Greece to leave the euro and almost half that it should have just defaulted on its payments.

Dutch PM clashes with parliament over EU summit

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte clashed with parliament in the Hague on Saturday, over his refusal to elaborate on the government’s position at Sunday's eurozone summit for fear of giving away its negotiation strategy.

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