- Category: News
- Created on Tuesday, 22 May 2012 17:00
- Written by Amsterdam Herald
The ESM will set up a permanent emergency fund of €700 billion for European countries whose debts hit crisis point.
The Netherlands will pay €4.6 billion into the fund in its first year and offer guarantees up to a further €35 billion.
Supporters say the new deal provides much-needed security for the eurozone economies and point out that the Dutch contribution is less than half the €98 million which it paid in to the last emergency fund.
The populist parties, the Socialists (SP) and the Freedom Party (PVV), along with minor parties such as the Christian Union (CU), argued that the sizeable minority against the plan meant Parliament has no authority to pass the law.
PVV leader Geert Wilders is to go to the Supreme Court next Tuesday in an attempt to block the measure, claiming it contravenes constitutional rules that restrict the caretaker government to legislating on non-controversial policy areas.
Wilders failed during the Parliamentary debate to secure a majority for an amendment which would have delayed the vote until after the election on September 12.
A poll for the NOS news programme EenVandaag found 59 per cent of voters agreed that the decision should not be taken under a caretaker government.
Opposition to the fund has been fuelled by a film circulating on the internet, in German with English subtitles, which brands the bailout fund an attack on the sovereignty of democratic states.
It says national governments will have no say in how the money is used and the officials who run the fund will enjoy immunity from prosecution.
More than 10,000 signatures have been added to an online petition calling on the Lower House not to ratify the ESM, which Brussels wants to have in place by July.
There are also concerns over the fact that Germany, France and Italy exercise an effective veto over any bailout because it needs the consent of 85 per cent of the EU.
Labour Party (PvdA) MP Ronald Plasterk said the ESM was an important safety net for Europe’s economies. “We need to have a good fire engine on standby for when things go wrong,” he told NRC Handelsblad.
But Socialist MP Ewout Irrgang said the ESM was “illustrative of the way Europe engages with its citizens”.
“Once again the people have not been consulted. This is how the whole euro project came into being,” he said.
As for Wilders’s court action, Dutch jurists are mostly dismissive of his chances of success, but Moszkowicz said there was a case for delaying the vote until after September’s election.
He said: “If there were only five people in Parliament against this bill I’d have no right to say anything. But there is a large minority of members like Mr Wilders who oppose it.”
Meindert Fennema, emeritus professor of political theory at Amsterdam University, told De Volkskrant: “No judge is going to say: we will force the government not to participate in the emergency fund until after the election.
“Of course, it’s a good move for Wilders because it puts him back on the front page of the newspapers.”