Sunday

22nd Jan 2017

Wilders report: Dutch families would be €10,000 better off out of EU

  • Dutch shopping street: Leaving the EU would be 'very unwise,' Dijsselbloem said (Photo: zoetnet)

Leaving the European Union would boost the Dutch economy by between 10 and 13 percent, and be worth nearly €10,000 per household, according to a report commissioned by Geert Wilders' Freedom party.

The study, published on Thursday (6 February) by London-based consultancy Capital Economics, says the Netherlands would between €1 trillion and €1.5 trillion better off by 2035 if it were to leave the EU in 2015, depending on whether the bloc's crisis countries require further financial support in the coming years.

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.

The 164-page survey adds that membership of the euro is holding back the flatlining Dutch economy and estimates that leaving the bloc could save Dutch businesses €20 billion each year and beef up the country's public finances by up to €240 billion over 20 years by staying out of EU spending programmes.

Meanwhile, using an EU exit to re-write its immigration laws would reduce public spending by a further €7.5 billion. It also argues that the Netherlands should be able to secure a Swiss-style free trade relationship with the rest of the EU.

"It is completely possible that the Netherlands could negotiate a Swiss or Norwegian style arrangement with the EU whereby it resins the benefits of the single market, but is free to negotiate at will with countries beyond," it notes.

"Our analysis shows that the Netherlands would be better off taking control of its own destiny, rather than sticking the 'devil it knows'," the paper concludes, adding that leaving the bloc would "provide an opportunity for the Netherlands to see rates of growth in prosperity that have looked otherwise consigned to distant history," it says.

Although the report warns that leaving the EU and going back to the guilder could lead to short-term volatility and a possible a downgrade to the country's credit rating, it states that any costs would be "modest and manageable."

The report's findings were immediately leapt upon by Wilders.

“Leaving the EU or Nexit will not only restore our national sovereignty but it will also boost the Dutch economy now and in the future,” he said at a press conference in The Hague also on Thursday.

"I cannot explain to any voters in the Netherlands that we have to raise taxes, cut health care for the elderly, for example, but that we send billions of euros to the Southern European countries," he added.

The idea was swiftly dismissed by Dutch finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem, however.

Leaving the EU "would be very, very unwise for the Dutch economy and business," said the minister, who chairs the monthly eurogroup meetings of eurozone finance chiefs. "We earn the bulk of our wealth in trade with EU countries so Netherlands has lots of interest in an internal market with easy trade," he added.

An estimated 70 percent of Dutch trade is with the rest of the EU, according to the Capital Economics report.

Surveys suggest that Wilders' party will top the poll at May's European elections and retain the five MEP seats it took in 2009, one of a string of eurosceptic parties expect to perform strongly.

Both Britain's UK Independence Party (Ukip) and France's National Front, whose leader Marine Le Pen will campaign alongside Wilders, are tipped to defeat at least one of the major parties in their respective countries.

But most Dutch voters oppose Wilders' proposals to scrap the euro and leave the EU.

Capital Economics has become a household name in political circles after it won the £250,000 Wolfson prize in 2012 for its paper on how best to manage the break up the eurozone.

The firm's managing director, Roger Bootle, has also been a regular speaker at conferences organised by Ukip, which campaigns for the UK to leave the EU.

Trump pledges US-first foreign policy

Economic protectionism and war on Islamist terrorism will form the heart of US foreign policy, Trump has said. He did not rubbish Nato, but indicated interest in a new Russia alliance.

GMO opt-out plan remains in waiting room

The commission wants to give the power to member states to reject EU-approved genetically modified organisms, but the Maltese presidency is unlikely to approach the issue any time soon.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Caritas EuropaEU States to Join Pope Francis’s Appeal to Care for Migrant Children
  2. UNICEFNumber of Unaccompanied Children Arriving by sea to Italy Doubles in 2016
  3. Nordic Council of Ministers"Nordic Matters" Help Forge Closer Bonds Between the UK and the Nordic Region
  4. Computers, Privacy & Data ProtectionThe age of Intelligent Machines: join the Conference on 25-27 January 2017
  5. Martens CentreNo Better way to Lift Your Monday Blues Than to Gloss Over our Political Cartoons
  6. Dialogue PlatformThe Gulen Movement: An Islamic Response to Terror as a Global Challenge
  7. European Free AllianceMinority Rights and Autonomy are a European Normality
  8. Swedish EnterprisesHow to Create EU Competitiveness Post-Brexit? Seminar on January 24th
  9. European Jewish CongressSchulz to be Awarded the European Medal for Tolerance for his Stand Against Populism
  10. Nordic Council of Ministers"Adventures in Moominland" Kick Off Nordic Matters Festival in London
  11. PLATO15 Fully-Funded PhDs Across Europe on the Post-Crisis Legitimacy of the EU - Apply Now!
  12. Dialogue PlatformInterview: Fethullah Gulen Condemns Assassination of Russian Ambassador to Turkey