Tuesday

22nd Aug 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)."

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  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.

"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.

'Killer robots' are not about Terminator

A European signatory of an open letter about autonomous weapons says the imagery of fictional killer robots is distracting from a seriously dangerous issue.

News in Brief

  1. US will ask Nato allies to send more troops into Afghanistan
  2. Greece to be absent at event on Communism and Nazism
  3. Czechs want observer status in Eurogroup meetings
  4. Putin sends EU-blacklisted ambassador to US
  5. Austria has begun checks at Italian border
  6. Slovenian PM: Brexit talks will take longer than expected
  7. Merkel backs diesel while report warns of economic harm
  8. UK to publish new Brexit papers this week

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressEuropean Governments Must Take Stronger Action Against Terrorism
  2. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceDoes Genetics Explain Why So Few of Us Have an Ideal Cardiovascular Health?
  3. EU2017EEFuture-Themed Digital Painting Competition Welcomes Artists - Deadline 31 Aug
  4. ACCABusinesses Must Grip Ethics and Trust in the Digital Age
  5. European Jewish CongressEJC Welcomes European Court of Justice's Decision to Keep Hamas on Terror List
  6. UNICEFReport: Children on the Move From Africa Do Not First Aim to Go to Europe
  7. Centre Maurits CoppietersWe Need Democratic and Transparent Free Trade Agreements Says MEP Jordi Solé
  8. Counter BalanceOut for Summer, Ep. 2: EIB Promoting Development in Egypt - At What Cost?
  9. EU2017EELocal Leaders Push for Local and Regional Targets to Address Climate Change
  10. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceMore Women Than Men Have Died From Heart Disease in Past 30 Years
  11. European Jewish CongressJean-Marie Le Pen Faces Trial for Oven Comments About Jewish Singer
  12. ACCAAnnounces Belt & Road Research at Shanghai Conference