Monday

22nd May 2017

Dutch PM: Eurozone needs exit clause

  • Rutte - the EU shouldn't be like 'Hotel California' (Photo: NewsPhoto!)

The EU should have legal mechanisms for countries to leave the euro, says Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

In a letter released on Thursday (31 January) responding to a question in the Dutch Parliament, Rutte and his finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem, said that his governing coalition had agreed that "it should be possible under mutual consideration to exit from the community arrangements (Schengen, eurozone, European Union)."

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"This requires in the case of the eurozone and Schengen a treaty change as the current EU treaty does not foresee this possibility," it concluded.

The letter follows Rutte's intervention last week at the World Economic Forum in Davos, where he said that it "should be possible" for countries to leave the eurozone and indicated that certain EU policy areas should be repatriated to national governments.

"In terms of rules and legislation, it's a bit like 'Hotel California', you can check out but you can never leave," he said, adding that "you can never repatriate tasks to the national level."

The move comes a week after UK Prime Minister David Cameron gave a speech promising to renegotiate Britain's EU membership terms before holding an 'in/out' referendum.

The 2009 Lisbon Treaty introduced an exit clause into the EU treaties allowing countries to leave the bloc. Under Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union, "any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements."

A country would be allowed to leave the EU after notifying the other countries and negotiating an agreement on its relations with the Union. If a new agreement could not be reached the country would be deemed to have left the EU two years after giving its notice.

No member state has ever left the EU, although Greenland left the EEC in 1985 after holding a referendum.

Under the terms of the treaties, all EU countries barring the UK and Denmark, are required to join the euro. However, there is no legal mechanism for a country to withdraw from the eurozone, despite speculation during the height of the sovereign debt crisis that Greece and possibly other countries might be forced to leave the single currency. There is also no mechanism for leaving the Schengen agreement which allows for passport-free travel.

A number of countries have also negotiated opt-outs or exemptions from individual policy areas, and the concept of "variable geometry", where some EU countries accelerate the process of integration, has become more widely used. Enhanced co-operation, where a group of countries can decide to legislate amongst themselves, has been used twice in the past year.

All EU countries, except for Italy and Spain, signed up to the recently agreed common European patent framework, while 11 countries were recently given the go-ahead to set up a financial transactions tax.

Dutch pro-Europe parties win heated election

The Netherland’s pro-European parties swept to victory on Wednesday in a closely watched election that had prompted concerns eurosceptics would increase their influence in future decision-making powers.

Portugal held up as symbol of EU recovery

Portugal to sail out of troubled waters after eight years of financial crisis, EU commission predicted, amid broad but "fragile" recovery in European economy.

EU wary over Ukrainian weapons in South Sudan

Ukraine, which had signed an EU arms embargo on South Sudan, has since sold attack helicopters used by the government forces in Juba against civilians and hospitals.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Dialogue Platform"The West Must Help Turkey Return to a Democratic Path" a Call by Fethullah Gulen
  2. ILGA-EuropeRainbow Europe 2017 Is Live - Which Countries Are Leading on LGBTI Equality?
  3. Centre Maurits CoppietersWhen You Invest in a Refugee Woman You Help the Whole Community
  4. Eurogroup for AnimalsECJ Ruling: Member States Given No Say on Wildlife Protection In Trade
  5. European Heart NetworkCall for Urgent Adoption of EU-Wide Nutrient Profiles for Nutrition & Health Claims
  6. Counter BalanceInvestment Plan for Europe More Climate Friendly but European Parliament Shows Little Ambition
  7. Mission of China to the EUPresident Xi: China's Belt and Road Initiative Benefits People Around the World
  8. Malta EU 2017EU Strengthens Control of the Acquisition and Possession of Firearms
  9. International Partnership for Human RightsThe Cost of Speaking Out: Human Rights Violations Committed in Belarus
  10. ACCABanishing Bias? Audit, Objectivity and the Value of Professional Scepticism
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Oslo Climate Declaration Focuses on Rising Temperatures in the Arctic
  12. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceAbdominal Obesity: A Causal Risk Factor for Cardiometabolic Diseases