Dutch economy can weather eurozone crisis: Rutte

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The Dutch economy has the means to weather the eurozone debt crisis, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said Friday, as he stressed the need for European countries to curb public spending.

"I would like to emphasise we have the reserves to absorb the knocks," Rutte told a televised press conference in his first public address since the Dutch parliament went on summer recess.

He added: "The Dutch budgetary system is very robust. The Netherlands is doing relatively well within the European Union," but it remained of the utmost importance for it and other countries to continue with their cutback packages.

Rutte said the eurozone crisis was simply the result of countries allowing debts and deficits to build up to unacceptable levels before taking action.

"There are too many countries like Greece and Italy in which reforms were not undertaken or are coming too late," he said.

He said in the last few weeks he intensively followed the European economic crisis, especially developments in Italy and Spain as well as "alarming rumours concerning France."

Dutch Finance Minister Jan Kees de Jager earlier Friday told Dutch news agency ANP he would not rule out an upward revision of the EU's European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF).

"I won't exclude an extension. But you always have to see a bigger emergency fund from a broader perspective."

"Economic reform and spending cuts are essential. Without them a more substantial aid fund is of no use," he said.

© 2011 AFP

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