Netherlands open to easy EU loans for health care, not the economy

Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra said Tuesday 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 eurozone finance ministers meeting, Hoekstra told lawmakers the government would insist on conditions for countries seeking to tap the eurozones European Stability Mechanism (ESM) for any uses beyond acute health-care problems.

Hoekstra also repeated a contested position that the Netherlands would oppose an Italian-led push for European bonds to raise money for combating the coronavirus outbreak. That would “lead to more destabilization, more risks and a large bill for Dutch taxpayers,” he said in the parliaments finance committee.

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

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

After Hoekstra spoke, the parliament voted to back the government in its position to rule out eurobonds and stick to conditionality for ESM loans.

Hoekstra also had said the EU should discuss a reinsurance program for unemployment funding — the European Commissions SURE initiative — although measures to support the jobless remains national.

“I think theres still a lot to be Read More – Source

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