Prime Minister: ‘Economic growth and healthy public finances reinforce each other’
On 23 May, Prime Minister Mark Rutte met in Brussels with the other EU heads of government to discuss how to create new economic growth.
Mr Rutte stressed in his press conference after the meeting that growth and sound financial policy are not mutually exclusive but in fact go hand in hand. 'Healthy public finances form the basis for a healthy economy and for sound, genuine economic growth. You can’t build a strong state on credit,' he said. 'At the same time, growth is important to ensure healthy public finances for the future, and to maintain vital public services like health care and education'.
Mr Rutte believes that the EU already has a strong growth engine: the internal market. The Netherlands has recently proposed improvements to the internal market such as full implementation of the Services Directive, completion of the digital internal market and the introduction of a single European patent. The prime minister also advocates promoting trade and reducing the regulatory burden.
According to Mr Rutte, the EU member states have already reached consensus on a number of issues. These include completing the internal market, tackling youth unemployment, strengthening the position of small and medium-sized enterprises and increasing scope for innovation.
Mr Rutte also voiced his opposition to the proposed introduction of joint European government bonds, or ‘eurobonds’, which he believes could delay necessary reforms in various member states. What is more, the difference in interest rates among the EU countries is currently far too great to allow the introduction of eurobonds, and for the Netherlands, joint bonds would lead to rising interest expenditure.
The meeting was in preparation for the European Council on 28 June, where decisions in these areas will be taken.