Prime minister Mark Rutte told parliament on Wednesday afternoon that he broke his election promise on no more money for Greece ‘in the interests of the Netherlands’.
He made the promise during the general election of 2012. He said at the time that no more money would go to Greece, saying: ‘Two large rescue packages have been agreed. I think that is enough.’
During a parliamentary debate on Wednesday, Rutte said: ‘The circumstances in 2012 were different. It is not always possible to keep a promise in politics. You have to take responsibility.’
His position has brought criticism from the opposition parties. Left-wing liberal D66 party leader Alexander Pechtold told Rutte: ‘You cannot play with the trust of the electorate.’
Geert Wilders, leader of the anti-Islam PVV, talked of ‘election betrayal’ and said Rutte will be ‘the Pinocchio of the Low Lands’ if he votes for the new financial package for Greece.
The new deal is for a loan of €86bn, with the Netherlands contributing €5bn.
Both the coalition parties, VVD and Labour, have voted to support the deal.
The debate is continuing.
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