Egypt reaches staff-level agreement with IMF over $5.2 billion standby loan    Islam calls for compliance with quarantine in outbreaks, says cleric at Egypt's Azhar mosque    UK halts trial of "useless" hydroxychloroquine in COVID-19 patients    Quarantine rules leave Serie A in the balance    OPEC+ to meet Saturday on extending cuts, pushing for compliance    Central African Republic court rejects bid to extend president's mandate    Turkey's Erdogan backtracks on weekend lockdown after public backlash    Books about racial discrimination become best-sellers as U.S. protests grow    Twitter disables U.S. President Trump video tribute to Floyd over copyright complaint    U.S. ship back at sea after coronavirus outbreak and captain fired    No increase in Egypt's basic commodities' prices – statement    Former Ahly skipper Ashour won't quit football, reveals interest from Portuguese, Saudi clubs    Manchester City set to appoint Lillo as Guardiola's assistant: reports    Egypt executed 2,176 Saudi-financed projects since 2013 – minister    Egypt's sovereign wealth fund ranks 43rd among 93 funds globally    Facebook to apply state media labels on Russian, Chinese outlets    Egypt reports 1,152 new coronavirus cases on Thursday – ministry    World needs solidarity to produce coronavirus vaccine: Sisi    110 Egyptian hotels now open under new hygiene regulations    Moroccan actor Youssef Kerkour scoops BAFTA nomination    Cairo Airport Museum receives artifacts ahead of planned opening    Egypt 'strongly condemns' terror attack on Kabul mosque    Japan's Dentsu evacuates Tokyo HQ after bomb threat    Non-oil imports decrease 21.2% between January and April: CAPMAS    Art van adds a splash of colour to drab Gaza life amid the coronavirus    Saudi SMEs grant $200m to 2,176 Egyptian projects: International Cooperation Minister    US prosecutors charge 3 more police officers over George Floyd killing    How to keep children entertained and relaxed during quarantine    CAF draws timeline for resumed continental championships amid COVID-19    Al-Sisi, Czech counterpart discuss joint COVID-19 efforts    Hospitals treating COVID-19 patients to increase to 376: Zayed    Egyptian Football star Ahmed Fathy's wife, daughters infected with Coronavirus    TSFE to develop, operate Bab Al-Azab historical area    Sudan urges UN Security Council to encourage GERD parties to refrain from 'unilateral measures'    Misusing the Nile    Egypt's right to water    Culture Ministry discusses preventative measures for resumed activities    Egyptian and Irish theatre challenge the coronavirus    Egypt's Zamalek close to signing Angola's Papel in summer    We Are One: Global film festival launches amid pandemic    Zamalek re-hang ‘Real Club of the Century' billboard after removing CAF logo    Armed Forces neutralise 19 militants in North Sinai operations    Farwell to 89-year old Egyptian actor Hassan Hosny    Ethiopia says it won't accept Egypt's ‘historic rights' to Nile water    Egypt removes 484 illegal constructions and encroachments on Nile    Salah did not pressure administration to include players on team: Ghazal    Sisi congratulates Egyptians on occasion of Eid Al-Fitr    Egypt's 12 MPs came into contact with coronavirus infected parliamentarian    

Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.

Netherlands refuses to 'Go Dutch' on EU coronavirus debt
Published in Ahram Online on 10 - 04 - 2020

As the European Union hammered out an emergency economic package this week for countries reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Dutch held true to their reputation for thriftiness by refusing to support a plea by southern members to take on collective debt.
And while the bloc's 27 finance ministers agreed to half-a-trillion euros in relief on Thursday, the contentious issue of "eurobonds" - jointly issued debt - was left unresolved. A reference to "innovative financial instruments" enabled both sides to declare having won political concessions.
EU powerhouse Germany, Austria, Finland and others had also expressed objections to debt mutualisation, but Dutch Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra was ultimately the sole holdout in 16 hours of talks that failed to work out a deal on Wednesday.
When the EU finance ministers returned to talk in a Thursday evening video conference, The Hague agreed to ease terms for accessing financing from the euro zone's EMS bailout fund to help with healthcare costs, but held firm against shared debt.
A smiling Hoekstra said he was "very satisfied" with the outcome on euro bonds, tweeting that "there won't be any" and telling Dutch TV stations "sometimes you have to put your foot down."
French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire countered that the agreement had paved the way for mutual debt.
The Dutch minister's stance was no surprise, however.
Only days earlier a top TV satirist took Hoekstra's side in explaining why the Dutch should not pour money into Italy.
With a record two million viewers of his "Lubach on Sunday" show, Arjen Lubach said the Dutch wanted to help, but have legitimate concerns about the bloc's long-term finances and preserving their own hard-fought financial health. He compared the situation to putting out a neighbour's house fire.
"I am willing to help you put out the fire, but I don't want to take over your mortgage," Lubach said, adding that while Hoekstra might be irritating, he had a "fair point".
The Netherlands, a wealthy nation of 17.2 million, emerged only recently from years of belt-tightening under an austerity program since the 2008 financial crisis that made deep cuts into social security, pensions, education and healthcare.
While the Dutch cut back their national debt to 50% of GDP, Italy's rose to nearly 135%, or 2.4 trillion euros, Lubach pointed out.
The Hague had drawn a red line with southern European nations over joint debt and conditions for access to the emergency European Stability Mechanism (ESM) credit lines, drawing anger from hard-hit Spain and Italy.
Dutch thriftiness is deeply rooted in the culture and history of the trading nation that adopted the Calvinist branch of Protestantism more than four centuries ago.
In the 17th century, the English coined the phrase "Going Dutch", which refers to the splitting of a bill so that one party does not end up indebted to the other.
The country's neighbours still like to poke fun at the Dutch splitting of dinner bills, taking groceries on holiday, and always looking for a bargain.
The fact that the issue is prime TV fodder goes a long way to explaining how the Netherlands has become the bloc's "bad cop" opposing the kind of financial burden-sharing that its neighbours to the south say is needed to stave off an economic meltdown.
While the tough stance of Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte's government has the backing of parliament at home, in Rome eurosceptic challenger Matteo Salvini denounced the bloc as failing to show enough solidarity.
"The European debate is embarrassing not to say sickening," said governor Luca Zaia, a member of Salvini's Northern League in the Veneto region, one of the hardest hit in Italy.
Joris Luyendijk, a Dutch author and political commentator, said Hoekstra's hard line tactics could cause long-term damage to the Netherlands' diplomatic relationships within the union.
"It's horrible PR and horrible politics; at a time of unprecedented crisis Wopke offers southern Europeans an ideal hate figure. We will pay for this down the line, as a country."

Clic here to read the story from its source.