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Europe

Dutch Want Constitution to Strengthen Euro Rules

The Dutch government wants the EU constitution to include tougher legislation that will force member states to comply with fiscal rules laid out in the Stability and Growth Pact.

A week before a crucial EU summit on the future constitution, the Dutch government has announced it will push for extra legal guarantees to force EU countries to comply with the Stability and Growth Pact. In an interview on Dutch public television on Sunday, Dutch state secretary for European Affairs, Atzo Nicolaï demanded that the new Constitution include expanded powers for the European Court of Justice over the Stability Pact – the rules that underpin the euro. According to Mr Nicolaï, an increase of power of the European Court of Justice would avoid further 'political fiddling' with the stability pact by big member states. This would be a 'very important' point for the Netherlands in the negotiations on the EU Constitution, he added. France and Germany, two countries that are formally in breach of the Stability Pact rules, escaped fines from the European Commission last month following a majority decision by the finance ministers from the euro zone (the 12 countries that share the euro).The Dutch government considered taking France and Germany to the Court of Justice, but decided it did not have a strong enough case under the present euro pact rules. It now wants these powers enhanced. (EUobserver.com)