Zalm 'fed up' with euro claims
18 May 2005, AMSTERDAM — Finance Minister Gerrit Zalm is "totally fed up" with the fact the Dutch public thinks that it was robbed by the introduction of the euro.
18 May 2005
AMSTERDAM — Finance Minister Gerrit Zalm is "totally fed up" with the fact the Dutch public thinks that it was robbed by the introduction of the euro.
Zalm said the public is being fed "lies" and "tall stories" and he claimed the affair is "exceptionally nasty", newspaper 'De Telegraaf' reported on Wednesday.
The Liberal VVD minister pointed to figures from the Central Planning Bureau (CPB) that indicated the Dutch guilder had been undervalued in 1998 in the changeover to the euro in financial markets.
The CPB said the guilder was undervalued when compared with the German mark, but stressed the same could be said in comparison with average prices across the entire eurozone.
"There are few indications that the entry price of the guilder strongly differed from the price ratio between the Netherlands and the eurozone," the CPB said.
And if the guilder was slightly undervalued when being exchanged for the euro, the CPB said the consequences would have been modest, and on average possibly even positive.
Controversy erupted earlier this month when the director of the Dutch reserve bank DNB, Henk Brouwer, said the guilder was undervalued in comparison with the mark in 1998.
He said the undervaluing caused price rises in the Netherlands, a phenomenon that a large section of the public has complained about since the introduction of the euro as the national currency in 2002.
Zalm was criticised by those who claimed that he withheld information or even lied about the undervaluing of the guilder when taking part in debates in the Dutch Parliament.
However, the finance minister stressed on Wednesday that during the debates he had not discussed the guilder's comparison with the mark, but its comparison with average European prices.
"The price nicely reflected the ratio of that time. The public have received value for its money," he said.
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: Dutch news