Dutch finance minister Dijsselbloem heads euro group – What the papers say

He’s only been Dutch finance minister for a few weeks but now Jeroen Dijsselbloem is going to lead the euro group into battle against the crisis. What the papers say.

 

Pride

Elsevier heads its editorial ‘Southern-European pride will be difficult hurdle to take’. Dijsselbloem’s appointment was opposed – unexpectedly, because very late in the game – by Spain which, Elsevier writes, is peeved that all important European posts are going to triple A countries.

Dijsselbloem is also up against angry Italians who are being forced ‘to change their life style’. Elsevier hopes he won’t be talked into a guilt complex: ‘reproaches about a lack of solidarity are misplaced in view of the billions that have already gone to the weaker European countries’, the magazine concludes.

Shield-bearer

Trouw, in a lengthy analysis, titled ‘Is Jeroen Dijsselbloem going to be Germany’s loyal shield-bearer?’, answers the question as to why Dijsselbloem was appointed in the first place. The Netherlands is a small country which doesn’t pull a lot of weight. Not for nothing was Dijsselbloem’s predecessor from Luxemburg.

Trouw quotes the Wall Street Journal which labels the two countries as having ‘low wattage’. The feeble glow of the Netherlands did, however, pick out its three A’s clearly enough and Dijsselbloem’s election, Trouw writes, also rests on this fact.

As far as its headline question is concerned: Trouw thinks the answer is yes but also quotes the Financieele Dagblad which writes that Dijsselbloem’s application for the job constitutes the official recognition that it is Berlin which steers Dutch euro policy, ‘the way Frankfurt steered our monetary policy long before the euro.’

It is also thought that Dijsselbloem, who will speak in English, will be a more sympathetic messenger of bad news than Wolfgang Schaüble, whose German tends to make it even less palatable, ‘for historic reasons’, Trouw writes.

What will he do?

Never mind what the other countries think of him, what is he going to DO? asks NRC. He is expected to continue his predecessor’s work in the areas of balancing deficit and growth, bringing about a banking union and safeguarding the integrity of the eurozone, the paper writes.

Dijsselbloem has pledged to fight mass unemployment and promote sustainable economic growth. Sustainable government finance has his highest priority, NRC quotes from a letter the eurogroup leader wrote today.

And what of Dijsselbloem’s function as Dutch finance minister? Most papers agree he won’t have much time to keep an eye on the nation’s finances. The day-to-day running will probably be the responsibility of junior minister Frans Weekers.

Mouthpiece

The worry among PVV and SP MPs is that Dijsselbloem will be Brussels’ mouthpiece and not stand up for Dutch interests. NRC doesn’t think they have anything to worry about. ‘The Netherlands will once again be at the heart of Europe and that is a good thing’, the paper writes.

Moreover, as chairman of the eurogroup, Dijsselbloem has access to information, and at least a measure of influence. Whether or not this puts him in a false position with regard to Dutch interests – impossible for the Dutch government to go against the 3% norm with Dijsselbloem as eurogroup chairman – remains to be seen. ‘The benefits may well outweigh the risks’, the paper concludes.

 

 

 

 

 

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