The Netherlands’ future relationship with the euro will be comprehensively debated by its parliament following elections 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 advisor, coincides with a rising tide of euroscepticism in Europe, which populist parties are hoping to tap into in a series of national elections this year also taking in euro zone powerhouses France and Germany.
The probe will examine whether it would be possible for the Dutch to withdraw from the single currency, and if so how, said lawmaker Pieter Omtzigt.
Omtzigt, of the opposition Christian Democrats, tabled 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 of the March 15 vote 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.”
Thursday’s motion instructs the Council to look at “what political and institutional options are open for the euro,” and “what are the advantages and disadvantages of each.”
By: Toby Sterling; editing by John Stonestreet
24 February 2017