- Category: Election 2012
- Created on Thursday, 16 August 2012 11:48
- Written by Amsterdam Herald
Roemer told Het Financieele Dagblad that the threat of fines and other sanctions for countries who let their budget deficit exceed 3 per cent of GDP was “idiocy”, adding: “The government has to get things going again. Would I pay a ridiculous fine if the deficit is larger than 3 per cent? Over my dead body.”
The SP’s election programme commits the party to reducing the budget deficit, but not within the EU’s deadline of 2013.
Other parties claimed that the comments showed that the Socialists were slipping back into an oppositional stance and proved Roemer was the wrong person to lead the country.
The strongest criticism came from parties on the centre-left, who have seen voters drift away in recent months towards the more populist, eurosceptic SP.
Labour Party (PvdA) leader Diederik Samsom said: “Threatening with vetos or stopping payments is not sensible. If you want the Netherlands to make use of the exemptions in the European growth pact, it’s more effective to forge alliances.”
Alexander Pechtold, of the left-liberal D66 group, said: “A party aspiring to government that takes these kinds of rabid stances can’t be taken seriously. When is Socialist Party going to tell us what it’s in favour of?”
The comments reflect the perception among the SP’s rivals that Roemer’s inexperience in high office is a weakness that they can exploit.
Roemer also came in for criticism on the right, where he was accused of being irresponsible with government spending. “Roemer is spending money that doesn’t exist,” said Christian Democrat (CDA) leader Sybrand van Haersma Buma. “He blames Europe and leaves our children to pick up the bill.”
The latest opinion poll carried out for TV politics show EenVandaag found that 35 per cent of people see Roemer as a suitable candidate for Prime Minister, compared to 45 per cent for the current office holder Mark Rutte, leader of the Liberals (VVD).
Rutte’s government was one of the most hawkish advocates of fines for European countries who fail to bring their budgets under control when the system was introduced 18 months ago.
Roemer’s stance suggests that a Socialist-led government would be likely to favour French president Francois Hollande’s agenda for growth in the EU rather than the tough austerity measures favoured by German chancellor Angela Merkel.