Dutch PM calls for Europe budget tsar

De opening van de Financial Times:
The European Union should appoint a new budget tsar with powers to dictate taxes and spending in eurozone countries and who could ultimately adjudicate whether countries should be kicked out of the euro, the Dutch prime minister has argued.

Writing in the Financial Times, Mark Rutte and his government’s finance minister, Jan Kees de Jager, said the new “commissioner for budgetary discipline” should be given the authority to impose a gradually more painful series of penalties on profligate eurozone countries, including the withholding of EU development funds.

But if a country continues to flout EU demands for spending restraint, Mr Rutte’s plan would force eurozone countries to submit their budgets to the commissioner, who could veto it before it is presented to parliament. Over the long term, Mr Rutte said, the eurozone should force countries to leave the euro if it did not abide by the commissioner’s ruling.

“Countries that do not want to submit to this regime can choose to leave the eurozone,” Mr Rutte and Mr de Jager write. “In the future, the ultimate sanction can be to force countries to leave the euro.”

Mr Rutte’s minority government is facing an increasing anti-bail-out backlash at home and his hardline rhetoric may be intended to shore up his position domestically. His cabinet governs with support from the far-right Party for Freedom of Geert Wilders, which opposes all aid to Greece and terms it “throwing money over the dikes”.

However, senior European officials say the Netherlands has become one of the most demanding countries in the negotiations over how to resuscitate the faltering bail-outs of Greece, meaning domestic Dutch politics have a big influence over eurozone debates.

Bron(nen):   Financial Times (betaald)