Bank chief calls MP Wilders false prophet

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A war of words has broken out between populist anti-Islam and Eurosceptic MP Geert Wilders and the president of the Dutch central bank, Nout Wellink on the debt crisis in Greece. Mr Nellink called Mr Wilders “a false prophet on economic matters” during a talkshow on national TV yesterday evening.

Earlier, the leader of the Freedom Party PVV lashed out against bailing out a debt-stricken Greece and said in daily that Greece should quit the euro zone and return to the drachma. He added that it was totally senseless to help Greece out again.  

Wilders doesn’t like his own During the TV show, the Dutch central bank chief claimed that Mr Wilders “mustn’t like his own people too much if he’s calling on them not to give any more money to Greece”.

Mr Nellink, who is also a member of the European Central Bank Governing Council, said lengthening Greece’s debt maturities was not a solution to the problems. If anything, he argued, it could lead to a chain reaction affecting other European countries and banks.

Responsibility Day In a parliamentary debate today, Mr Wilders attacked the government on the whole Greece crisis, clashing with the chairman of the governing conservative VVD. Stef Blok said his party was distancing himself from the Freedom Party’s stance.

The VVD is the largest party in a coalition government with the Christian Democrats. As they don't have a parliamentary majority, they rely on Mr Wilders' PVV support in government.

Today and yesterday are what’s known as “Responsibility Days” in Dutch parliament. On the third day of May each year, the government defends its financial policy. Mr Wilders is using the focus on finances to rally support for his anti-Greece crusade.

Mr Blok warned that if Greece falls, Ireland and Portugal were likely to follow, which in turn would threaten Italy and Spain and lead to a collapse in European trade. The PVV chief dismissed the arguments of both Mr Blok and Mr Wellink as “scare-mongering”.

Dutch Finance Minister Jan Kees de Jager recently warned of the difficulty of maintaining public support for huge bailouts of troubled peripheral euro zone countries. The International Monetary Fund has sent out reassurances that it will only shore up Greece's finances if the country pledged to intensify reform efforts.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide  

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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