Rutte: 2012 will be tougher than 2011

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This year is going to be tougher 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.”    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 can't make any mistakes this year.”

Mr Rutte rejected calls for Europe’s northern countries to ease their austerity measures in order to stimulate the economy. He 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 has consulted German Chancellor Angela Merkel on ways to ensure that France’s downgrading did not lead to a downgrading of the triple A status of the euro emergency fund. One possibility, the prime minister said, would be for Germany and the Netherlands to issue further guarantees. cl/ae

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide


© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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