Rutte in Favour of 'EU Member State Contracts’
THE HAGUE, 02/11/13 - Premier Mark Rutte has told the Lower House that he is not opposed to ‘EU member state contracts’ giving the European Commission more influence on the policy of individual EU member states.
Rutte "is not ruling out” the advent of new European rules allowing Brussels to exercise more influence on member states to carry out reforms proposed by the European Commission. According to Rutte, these rules would however have to be introduced with the “maintaining of sovereignty.”
The working-out of the plans is still being discussed within the European context. “Nothing will be introduced without the signature of the Netherlands,” said Rutte in a debate on last week’s European summit. EU government leaders want to make a decision in December on these member state contracts, as they are known.
The contracts would apply to all EU member states. The conservatives (VVD), Socialist Party (SP), Party for Freedom (PVV) and leftwing Greens (GroenLinks) reject the contracts. The premier however said he is not against them. "We have however raised large question-marks about them.”
As Eurogroup chairman, Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem said last week that the European budget rules must be tightened up. Postponement of the rule that a country must get its budget deficit below the 3 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) level should only be allowed on condition that the country reforms structurally.
Rutte said he shared the concern of Germany in particular on the preparedness for reform of various EU member states. The member state contracts could ensure that the countries that not come under the emergency fund “are still encouraged to reform.’”
Currently, proposals for reform are not yet binding. But this could change with the member states contracts, according to a number of MPs. According to Rutte however, this is not true. That the contracts were to be binding apparently stemmed from a translating mistake, according to the premier. In the original English text, the word ‘engaged’ was used. “And that is not the same as binding.”
SP MP Harry van Bommel said this is all "extremely confusing.” He went on: “I question how it is possible that a translating service could translate such an important aspect wrongly. That is really a serious matter.”