Rutte: 2012 will be harder than 2011

15th January 2012, Comments 0 comments

This year is going to be harder than 2011, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said in a television interview on Sunday.

Unemployment will rise, the European economy will stagnate and the public debt will grow, the prime minister said. “All of us are really going to feel the crisis this year. I fear this year will be worse,” he added.   On the other hand, the prime minister argued that the Netherlands is a strong country, with a good educational system. “That means we can emerge from the crisis in good shape. But that also means we should make no mistakes this year.”

Mr Rutte, however, rejected calls for Europe’s northern countries to ease their austerity measures in order to stimulate the economy. Mr Rutte said that was not possible because of the rising public debt.

In order for Europe to see economic growth, the prime minister stressed, it was important for the European Union to function as efficiently as possible. In that light, he thought the European Union should not, for example, determine which clothing construction workers should be required to wear.

Mr Rutte said the Netherlands and Germany both want a permanent rescue fund to replace the existing emergency fund, now that credit rating agency Standard and Poors has stripped France of its triple A status.

Mr Rutte said he had consulted German Chancellor Angela Merkel on ways to insure that France’s downgrading did not lead to a downgrading of the triple A status of the euro emergency fund. The measures the two leaders discussed to maintain the fund’s triple A status include the possibility that Germany and the Netherlands may have to issue further guarantees, the prime minister said. cl

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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