Dutch finance minister under fire over Cyprus savings decision

Dutch finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem is coming under fire at home and abroad over his apparent role in the decision to make small savers pay towards the rescue of Cyprus, RTL news reports.

Dijsselbloem was recently appointed head of the influential euro group of European finance ministers, which has been closely involved in the rescue. In particular, people with only a few thousands euros in savings are angry they are being made to contribute.

Dijsselbloem, a Labour minister, told RTL news on Tuesday it is important to stress that small savers are being treated differently to those with over €100,000.

And he told parliament later that no other EU countries are expected to make a similar step.


Nevertheless, opposition MPs have called on the minister to fully explain the decision to the Dutch parliament. In particular, MPs are concerned at the potential knock-on effect in Spain and Portugal, where people are also worried about the safety of their savings.

Christian Democrat MEP Coren Wortmann said the entire rescue package ‘gives the impression of being put together in a hurry’.

And GroenLinks MEP Bas Eickhout said there is still time to make changes. ‘If the panic in Cyprus spreads to other southern European countries then we will lose a lot more money,’ he is quoted by the broadcaster as saying.

Economists are also warning of the implications. ‘This is a blunder,’ economist Johan van Overtveldt is quoted as saying. ‘It is quite obvious that Dijsselbloem has not made a good start.’

According to the BBC, Cyprus is now considering exempting savers with less than €20,00 deposited in its banks from the controversial levy.

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