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Monday, November 28, 2011

De Jager talks tough as he heads to Berlin for talks on Greece

De Jager talks tough as he heads to Berlin for talks on Greece
Tuesday 22 November 2011

The Netherlands, Germany and Finland meet regularly to talk about the euro crisis and will meet again in Berlin on Friday, Dutch finance minister Jan Kees de Jager told broadcaster RTLZ on Tuesday.

The three countries, dubbed the Triple A lands by RTLZ because of their Triple A ratings, have had enough of Greece's intransigence over the rescue package, RTLZ quoted De Jager as saying.

Friday's meeting will focus on the Greek debt, and De Jager has again threatened to block financial help for Greece if conservative leader Antonis Samaras continues to refuse to sign the EU agreement.

Samaras has said his word that Greece will meet the conditions set down by EU ministers should be enough. 'We are well past that stage with Greece,' De Jager said. 'We want to see a signature from Mr Samaras… otherwise, as far as I am concerned they will get no money. Absolutely not.'


Meanwhile, the Volkskrant reports that Dutch efforts to boost the financial controls on the 17 eurozone countries may have borne fruit.

Plans which the European Commission is due to publish on Wednesday are very similar to the proposal outlined by the cabinet in September, the paper says, without quoting sources.

However, the options of withdrawing voting rights from countries which break eurozone monetary rules and eventual expulsion from the eurozone are not included, the paper says. These would require a time-consuming change to EU treaties and are not on the cards.

The package does include much tougher supervision from Brussels, as will sanctions and fines for countries which break the rules.


In addition, Ullie Rehn, the commissioner for economic and financial affairs has also been given responsibility for the euro which goes some way to meeting Dutch wishes for a monetary union commissioner, the Volkskrant says.

Rehn, who is Finnish, said in a speech in Germany on Tuesday the new tools include the possibility of financial sanctions if a euro area member state does not follow the EU recommendations to put its fiscal house in order.

'And rest assured, I will make full use of all these new instruments from day one of their entry into force,' Rehn said. 'We cannot afford to tolerate a breach of jointly agreed rules by anyone anymore. We have seen, only too concretely, that it happens at the cost of other member states.'

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