Monday

22nd Oct 2018

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)."

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

"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.

Interview

Bannon's The Movement to launch with January summit

Belgian Mischael Modrikamen is working with US strategist Steve Bannon to make the new hard-right grouping 'The Movement' go global. First step: a summit in January in Brussels, and high-level talks are underway, possibly with Brazil's far-right presidential contender.

EU parliament will not budge on office expenses

Hungarian centre-right MEP Livia Jaroka sticks to earlier decision: documents related to the minor reform of the expenses system, requested by EUobserver, should remain secret.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  3. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  5. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  6. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  7. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  8. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  9. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  11. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  12. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All

Latest News

  1. Lone Merkel announces Saudi arms ban
  2. Dodgy regime lobbying is below the EU's radar
  3. Bannon's The Movement to launch with January summit
  4. What Italy's budget row is actually about
  5. EU preparing 'concentration camps' for migrants in Africa
  6. Poland to respect EU injunction on judicial purge
  7. EU votes on Facebook and plastic This WEEK
  8. Top EU banks guilty of multi-billion tax fraud

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us