Labour conditionally approves support for Greece

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Finance Minister Jan Kees de Jager’s proposal for a new loan to Greece appears to have won the support of a majority in parliament. The position of the Labour Party is seen as crucial. The main opposition party supports the minister’s proposal, but will only give its final approval after the cabinet has had time to consider all financial consequences of the plan.

Labour Party financial spokesperson Ronald Plasterk expressed support for the minister’s plan to impose stricter conditions on Greece and to have banks and pension fund make a contribution to the planned new bail-out operation.

Mr De Jager wants the banks and pension funds to extend the term of their current loans to Greece. Such a measure would cover about 25 billion euros of a new loan to Greece which would reportedly amount to about 80 billion euros.

However, Mr Plasterk did not share the minister’s optimism that all financial support to Greece would eventually be paid back with interest. The Labour Party fears that at least part of the Greek debts will have to be forgiven sooner or later.

In addition to coalition partners VVD and CDA, the opposition parties D66, Green Left and the Labour Party share the minister’s view that not taking action now would entail even bigger financial risks. Minister De Jager predicted a financial loss of many tens of millions of euros if the EU and IMF did not come to Greece’ rescue and allowed the country to slide into de facto bankruptcy. The minister fears the resulting financial chaos would spread to Ireland, Portugal and Spain.


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