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Dutch relations with euro up for debate after lawmakers commission probe
February 24, 2017 / 5:07 PM / 7 months ago

Dutch relations with euro up for debate after lawmakers commission probe

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - The Netherlands’ future relationship with the euro will be comprehensively debated by its parliament following an election in March, after lawmakers commissioned a report on the currency’s future.

The motion approving the investigation by the Council of State, the government’s legal adviser, coincides with a rising tide of Euroscepticism, which populist parties are hoping to tap into in the March 15 Dutch election as well as votes in the euro zone powerhouses of France and Germany.

The report, which has no restrictions on its remit, could examine whether it would be possible for the Dutch to withdraw from the single currency, and if so how, said lawmaker Pieter Omtzigt.

The motion called for the council to examine how the euro could be made more stable, as well as the “political and institutional options for its future”.

The council’s advice is non-binding, but influential.

Omtzigt, of the opposition Christian Democrats, put forward the parliamentary motion calling for the investigation, which legislators passed unanimously late on Thursday.

It was prompted by concerns the ECB’s ultra-low interest rates are hurting Dutch savers, especially pensioners, and doubts as to whether its bond purchasing programmes are legal, he said.

Its findings will be presented in several months, by which time the make-up of parliament will have changed dramatically.

While most Dutch voters say they favour retaining the euro, the Eurosceptic far-right party of Geert Wilders is expected to book large gains, though it is unlikely to win enough votes to form a government.

The most probable outcome is a new centrist coalition including some parties, such as Omtzigt’s Christian Democrats, that have been vocal in their opposition to current ECB policy.

“The problems with the euro have not been solved,” Omtzigt said. “This is a way for us to look at ways forward with no taboos.”

Reporting by Toby Sterling; Editing by John Stonestreet and Alison Williams

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
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