Netherlands open to easy EU loans for healthcare, not the economy – POLITICAL

Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra said Tuesday that the Dutch government supports easy loans from a European fund for governments to cover short-term medical costs, but not economic recovery measures.

Speaking ahead of a meeting of eurozone finance ministers, Hoekstra told lawmakers that the government would insist on conditions for countries seeking to leverage the eurozone’s European Stability Mechanism (ESM) for any use beyond trouble. acute care.

Hoekstra also repeated a contested position that the Netherlands would oppose an Italian-led push for European bonds to raise money to fight the coronavirus outbreak. That “would lead to more destabilization, more risks and a big bill for Dutch taxpayers,” he told Parliament’s finance committee.

“[We] It must come up with a package that is reasonable and sensible, also towards the Dutch taxpayer, “he said.

“Some proposals are wishes of member states that have been on the table for some time and are now emerging again. That is allowed, but does not make it sensible.”

After Hoekstra spoke, the parliament voted to back the government in its position of scrapping Eurobonds and sticking to conditionality for ESM loans.

Hoekstra had also said that the EU should discuss a reinsurance program for financing unemployment: the European Comission SURE Initiative, although measures to support the unemployed remain national.

“I think there is still a lot to do on the suggestion,” Hoekstra said. Still, he added, “social security and an instrument like the WW [unemployment act] it should remain the primary responsibility of the Member States. “

Hoekstra said there is “broad support” for a Dutch proposal transferring a one-time gift of 10 to 20 billion euros to the countries hardest hit by the coronavirus epidemic, possibly “entwined” with the Commission’s medical aid proposal. He said it is unclear how much each country would contribute.

This article has been updated.

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