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Dutch Freedom Party pushes euro exit as €2.4 trillion rescue bill looms

The Dutch Freedom Party has called for a return to the Guilder, becoming the first political movement in the eurozone with a large popular base to opt for withdrawal from the single currency.

 

"The euro is not in the interests of the Dutch people," said Geert Wilders, the leader of the right-wing populist party with a sixth of the seats in the Dutch parliament. "We want to be the master of our own house and our own country, so we say yes to the guilder. Bring it on."

Mr Wilders made his decision after receiving a report by London-based Lombard Street Research concluding that the Netherlands is badly handicapped by euro membership, and that it could cost EMU’s creditor core more than €2.4 trillion to hold monetary union together over the next four years. "If the politicians in The Hague disagree with our report, let them show the guts to hold a referendum. Let the Dutch people decide," he said.

Mr Wilders is not part of the coalition. However, the minority government of Mark Rutte relies on the Freedom Party to pass legislation. The two men were in talks on Monday on €16bn of fresh austerity cuts needed stop the budget deficit jumping to 4.5pc of GDP.

The study said the eurozone cannot survive in its current form. The longer Europe’s politicians dither, the more costly it will become. "The euro can only survive if it becomes a fiscal transfer union with national sovereign debt subsumed in eurozone bonds," said co-author Charles Dumas.

Greece will opt for a "negotiated exit" later this year, once the pain becomes excruciating. This will be after the French elections in May, but before the German electoral season begins in 2013.

Portugal will follow in "short order" as markets focus on its struggling banks and nasty logic of

recession for debt dynamics. "At that point, if not before, attention will turn to Spain and Italy, both likely by then to be much weakened by savage austerity programmes now being implemented," said Mr Dumas.

That is the moment when the creditor core will face the decision they have "ducked" for the past two years: either accept an EMU reflation strategy, along with debt pooling, fiscal union, and transfers; or accept a break-up.

Under an "optimistic scenario" it would cost €1.3 trillion to shore up Med-Europe, rising to more than €2.4 trillion if Italy and Spain need some form of bond relief. "The staggering trillion bill to preserve the euro only takes us to 2015. In reality, most of the debts will never be repaid and subsidies will need to continue, year in and year out," said Mr Dumas.

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