Tuesday 04 October 2022

Dutch join eight-country group to warn Brussels on EU powers, economic stability

The Netherlands is among eight EU countries which have joined forces to warn Brussels against the introduction of ‘far reaching proposals’ and to call for strengthening economic stability.

Finance ministers from the Netherlands, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, and Sweden all signed the position paper which was published on Tuesday, and which states that ’unity is a key asset for the remaining EU27 and must be safeguarded.’

Dutch finance minister Wopke Hoekstra said in a separate statement all eight nations ‘believe that strong economies lead to a stronger Europe.’ ‘This starts at the national level by taking measures to increase economic resilience,’ he said.

The eight countries say Brussels ‘should make use of the strengthened fiscal, economic and financial frameworks already in place, to deliver concrete results’ for all citizens of the 27 nations which will remain in the EU after Brexit. The paper includes six joint positions, including the mandatory reduction of the national debt if a country gets into severe difficulties

In addition, efforts should focus on initiatives that have public support in member states, the document said. ‘Further deepening of the EMU should stress real value-added, not far-reaching transfers of competence to the European level.

‘For that reason the discussion on the deepening of the EMU should find a consensus on “need to haves”, instead of focussing on “nice to haves”.’

Net payer

In a speech last week, Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte again spoke out against any increase the Dutch contributions to the EU after Brexit. The Netherlands is a net payer.

The Volkskrant said that Hoekstra’s involvement in the document ‘has shown that he is capable of forging alliances’. EU diplomats had expressed doubts about that because of Hoekstra’s ‘no, no, no approach’ during his first months in Brussels.

However, the Dutchman took the initiative for the alliance with a dinner for the ministers of the countries in January, the paper said.

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