Netherlands political crisis casts cloud on euro zone

By REUTERS
April 23, 2012 09:47

 
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AMSTERDAM - The Netherlands, a core euro zone member, was drawn into Europe's debt crisis at the weekend when the government failed to agree on budget cuts, making elections almost unavoidable and casting doubt on its support for future euro zone measures.

Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte, whose center-right coalition has been in power since October 2010, said on Saturday that crucial talks on budget cuts had collapsed after his ally Geert Wilders refused to do a deal, and that new elections were inevitable.

In the short term, the government must seek support for budget cuts from the opposition parties.

But uncertainty over the makeup of a new government, and waning voter support for bailouts and austerity measures, raised questions over Dutch backing for a fiscal responsibility pact seen as crucial to helping Europe cope with its debt crisis.

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