Tags: Dutch | Parliament | Greek | Bailout

Dutch Parliament Reluctantly Backs Greek Bailout

Tuesday, 28 February 2012 02:29 PM

The Dutch parliament, which has been heavily critical of euro zone bailouts, gave grudging backing to Greece's second rescue package on Tuesday saying it was needed to stabilize the currency bloc.

The ruling Christian Democrats and Liberals and opposition Labour and Liberal Democrat parties supported the 130 billion euro ($175 billion) program agreed by European leaders last week.

The Netherlands has been among the most reluctant countries to pledge support, with Dutch Finance Minister and Christian Democrat Jan Kees de Jager demanding close supervision of Greek budget cuts and reforms.

"Greece is a problem child and will remain a problem child for the time being. (But) the price of leaving it to fend for itself is unprecedentedly high for Greece and the rest of Europe," said Elly Blanksma-van den Heuvel, a member of parliament (MP) for the Christian Democrats.

The debt crisis that emerged in Greece more than two years ago has since forced Ireland and Portugal to take international bailouts and is threatening to suck in the much bigger economies of Spain and Italy.

"If we can't keep unity, you wonder what will happen to countries such as Portugal, Spain and Italy. The contagion danger is not yet over," Blanksma-van den Heuvel said in parliament.

De Jager, who will reply later on Tuesday to MPs' questions, has repeatedly complained of Greece's poor track record in implementing reforms and, with some other countries, delayed a decision on the Greek package two weeks ago.

Liberals MP Mark Harbers said the Greek package would help bring stability to the euro zone but also warned of risks.

"Unfortunately, the program can still go wrong in Greece because Greek people live in Greece. After two years no one can blame the euro zone for unjustifiably not trusting Greece and strict monitoring is needed," Harbers said.

"Greece now has to deliver."

Greeks, enduring their fifth year of economic recession, say the austerity measures they have been forced to accept in return for the bailout funds are impoverishing them. Tax hikes and wage and pension cuts have sent unemployment soaring and killed off many small businesses.

© 2018 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

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Tuesday, 28 February 2012 02:29 PM
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