Minister Hoekstra to meet with Ministers Centeno, Le Maire and Scholz
On 21 November Eurogroup President Mário Centeno will travel to The Hague to meet with Minister of Finance Wopke Hoekstra. The next day, Mr Hoekstra will travel to Berlin and Paris to meet with his German and French counterparts, Olaf Scholz and Bruno Le Maire. The topic of discussion will be strengthening the eurozone, for example through a further development of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM). The ministers will also discuss other current European issues.
In addition to these meetings, a meeting of the Eurogroup will take place on Monday 19 November, with the future of the eurozone as its central theme. After the Eurogroup, Mr Hoekstra will meet the other Benelux finance ministers, Johan Van Overtveldt of Belgium and Pierre Gramegna of Luxembourg.
The Netherlands has been pushing for some time for Europe’s crisis infrastructure to be made more robust. One of the elements to achieve this is a further strengthening of the ESM. In this respect, the Netherlands also calls for a complete framework to deal with debt sustainability issues, to ensure that public funds are not used to prevent losses for bondholders if debt is unsustainable.
Earlier this year, a ‘Hanseatic’ alliance was formed with seven other countries: The Netherlands together with Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania and Sweden. In early November, these countries, together with Slovakia and the Czech Republic, put forward a joint proposal on strengthening the eurozone. This would allow a fast and effective response to a financial and economic crisis.
‘On these sorts of fundamental issues, it is vital that we join forces,’ said Mr Hoekstra. ‘Especially now that the announced departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union means the loss of an important partner for the Netherlands. We have many irons in the fire. The new alliance is receiving a lot of attention, but of course I also have close contacts with Germany, France, and the Benelux.’