Friday, May 11, 2012

Dutch Premier Wants Greece to Stick With Euro and Austerity

Cruel Joke? Lame Duck Rutte, Whose Cabinet Collapsed Over Austerity, Admonishes Greece as EU Forecasts Weak Dutch Economy Through 2013

The lame duck leader of one of Europe's weakest economies, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, whose own cabinet collapsed last month over EU austerity demands, told reporters Friday that the Netherlands wants Greece to remain within the euro zone and hopes that a new Greek government will be formed that will adopt policies to meet the European Union's budget criteria.

 "Our policy is to keep Greece in the euro zone because we think it is better to have Greece in the euro zone than outside," Rutte said. "It is not the case that the euro zone falls apart without Greece."

In related news, The European Commission, which is the EU's executive body, said the Netherlands will be one of Europe's weakest economic performers in 2012 and 2013. Dutch gross domestic product will contract 0.9% in 2012 and the economy won't show any meaningful improvement until 2013, with just 0.7% growth, according to the Commission's forecast.

The report includes the Netherlands among Europe's weakest economies--Greece, Portugal, Italy and Spain.

Rutte resigned on April 23, two days after the PVV, which supported the government from the outside, withdrew its support. Populist PVV leader Geert Wilders refused to sanction the austerity measures the government sought, asserting the spending cuts would hurt economic growth.

Rutte's government lasted only 558 days, making it one of the country's shortest since World War II.

New elections are scheduled for September 12.

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