Dutch far-right leader loses bid to delay eurozone law

1st June 2012, Comments 0 comments

Dutch far-right leader Geert Wilders Friday lost a court bid to delay his country's ratification of Europe's long-term bailout fund, when the judge refused to interfere with government's law-making function.

Judge Roel Paris, in a written verdict in the district court of The Hague, said the Dutch Constitution stated that the process of law-making was the responsibility of parliament, not the courts.

Therefore "a judge may not interfere with the procedure of political decision-making," Paris said.

The eurosceptic politician had challenged the government in court after last week failing to stop the lower house from overwhelmingly voting for the multi-billion-euro European Stability Mechanism (ESM), set up to help heavily indebted countries.

It now requires upper house approval at a date yet to be determined for full ratificiation.

The action by the far-right leader comes a month after he walked out of talks with Prime Minister Mark Rutte's coalition government over budget cuts, prompting Rutte's cabinet to throw in the towel a few days later.

Polls to elect a new government are now slated for September 12.

Also known for his anti-Islamic stance, Wilders argued the decision to give the ESM the nod would be unlawful, as it will in effect be made by a government that will no longer be there after the elections.

He said the process should be postponed until after the polls.

Wilders also described the ESM as "a transfer of sovereignty to Brussels" and "handing Brussels a 40-billion-euro blank cheque."

The ESM, a permanent rescue fund, was created to ease market pressure on indebted eurozone nations such as Greece and prevent contagion across the single currency region.

It is due to be launched in July and will run in parallel with the temporary European Financial Stability Facility for one year.

The Netherlands is expected to contribute some 5.71 percent -- or just over 40 billion euros in total -- to the ESM.

© 2012 AFP

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