NEWS

Rutte to face Dutch criticism over broken Greek aid promise

rutte-to-face-dutch-criticism-over-broken-greek-aid-promise

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte faces a possible no-confidence motion in Parliament on Wednesday as Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders seeks to highlight the premier’s breaking of a promise to give Greece no more aid.

Wilders is planning to demand a vote because Rutte has reneged on a September 2012 pledge that Greece would not get a third bailout, the opposition party leader, who seeks Dutch withdrawal from the European Union, said on Tuesday.

Dutch lawmakers will return from their summer break for a third time to discuss the 86 billion-euro ($95 billion) international aid package that requires further economic reforms and austerity by Greece. The Netherlands will contribute 5 billion euros. The session begins at 12 noon in The Hague.

Wilders said in an e-mailed reply to questions he’s demanding the confidence motion “because of the wrong choices this prime minister makes, spending billions on Greece and asylum seekers, but many Dutch, a lot of whom are pensioners, he just leaves out in the cold.”

Rutte’s coalition of his Liberals and the Labor Party hold 76 seats in the 150-member lower house. The Freedom Party has 12 lawmakers. Asked who will support him in a vote, Wilders replied that “millions of Dutch agree with me and have had enough of this prime minister.”

In the debate, Rutte and Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem will inform lawmakers about the Greek deal. The chamber won’t vote on the package, though members are able to submit motions. Wilders asked for a plenary debate.

In September 2012, when Rutte was seeking a second term as prime minister, he said in a campaign debate that he would block a third aid package for Greece and that disagreed with the proposition that everything needed to be done to keep the euro area from breaking up. “Countries themselves need to do everything possible to remain in the euro zone,” Rutte said at the time.

In July, when the deal with Greece was closed, Rutte said he’s unhappy with the fact that he would have to break an electoral promise.

[Bloomberg]