Dutch conservatives seek to drop the euro | News | DW | 05.03.2012
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Dutch conservatives seek to drop the euro

The Netherlands' populist Freedom Party wants to return to its former currency, the guilder. Party leader Geert Wilders says the euro is proving too costly for the Dutch.

The head of the Dutch populist Freedom Party, Geert Wilders, on Monday called for the Netherlands to leave the euro and reintroduce the guilder.

"We say 'yes' to the guilder, for a return of the currency," Wilders told a press conference.

"If Herman van Rompuy (the president of the European Union) finds the euro sexy, we think the guilder is sexy," he said.

His remarks came after a meeting with the Netherlands' Prime Minister Mark Rutte for negotiations to reduce the country's deficit.

"We'll have to suffer pain, all three parties and the Netherlands will have to suffer pain for these talks to be a success," Wilders said.

Recession reactions

The government's statistics agency announced last week that the Netherlands was in a recession, and a forecast showed that the nation's deficit would be at 4.5 percent of GDP this year, more than the 3 percent allowed under EU rules.

Wilders cited a study from Lombart Street Research that said adoption of the euro had slowed economic growth and reduced consumer spending.

The act of abandoning the euro would cost the Netherlands around 51 billion euros, according to Wilders, but he added that the country is due to pay out 125 billion euros in the next three years to struggling eurozone nations such as Greece, Portugal, Italy or Spain.

sjt/msh (AFP, dpa, AP)