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UPDATE 2-Dutch lawmakers support Greek bailout package
December 4, 2012 / 7:46 PM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 2-Dutch lawmakers support Greek bailout package

* Majority supports bailout, minister says

* Dutch increasingly tired of cost-cutting (Adds comments from finance minister)

By Anthony Deutsch

AMSTERDAM, Dec 4 (Reuters) - Dutch lawmakers approved on Tuesday the latest bailout for Greece which includes measures to cut its debt load to 124 percent of national output by 2020.

The approval was widely expected as Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s Liberals and his coalition partner, Labour, have a parliamentary majority and both parties support the deal.

German lawmakers approved the latest bailout for Greece on Friday by a large majority.

“There is a clear majority in parliament that supports this package,” Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem told the finance commission.

“With this package a debt buyback becomes possible and Greece’s short-term liquidity crisis is alleviated.”

The approval of lawmakers will enable the Dutch government to back the latest loans to Greece when the Eurogroup meets on Dec. 13, he said.

“We are going to keep Greece within the group and that will be done by ensuring they meet the criteria.”

Rutte, who was re-elected in September, had promised voters that the Netherlands would not give any more money to Greece.

His party backed the new deal warning that the alternative was far worse: it said it supported the new deal because it would not involve stumping up more money for Greece even if it did mean an effective loss in interest on Greek bonds.

Recent opinion polls show that both the Liberals and Labour have slumped in popularity since Rutte won the general election on September 12.

Both parties are pro-European Union, supporting euro zone bailouts in the past, and shortly after winning agreed to a new package of austerity measures to bring the Dutch deficit within European Union (EU) targets.

However, the Dutch are increasingly tired of cost-cutting at home and bailouts for troubled euro zone countries.

Bailout fatigue was voiced during Tuesday evening’s debate by the eurosceptic party of populist Geert Wilders.

“The Netherlands has once again opened the money tap to Greece, while the Dutch tap has been closed,” said Tony van Dijck of the Freedom Party, referring to more than 40 billion euros ($52 billion) in cuts by the Dutch government.

“The Greeks refuse to pay taxes and private investors are leaving the country, yet we continue to pump billions into this bottomless pit. We shouldn’t be lending money to an addict,” he said. ($1 = 0.7642 euros) (Additional reporting by Sara Webb; editing by Michael Roddy)

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