Netherlands’ Parliament Majority Backs Aid Package for Cyprus

A majority of Dutch lawmakers backed the 10 billion-euro ($13 billion) aid package to Cyprus amid skepticism from the opposition about the island’s economic prospects.

Economic growth prospects for Cyprus after 2015 can hardly be considered to be realistic, Eddy van Hijum, a member of the Christian Democratic opposition party, said in parliament today. Mark Harbers, a member of the governing VVD Liberal Party, said the country has the potential for gas and tourism revenue to get the economy growing without its being dependent on aid.

European finance ministers signed off on the Cyprus terms in Dublin at their meeting April 12 and April 13, concluding an episode that exposed the tensions between northern creditor countries and southern debtor countries that beset European economic governance after three years of wrangling over the debt crisis.

The debate comes amid difficult economic circumstances for the coalition government led by Prime Minister Mark Rutte. They agreed on a four-year, 16 billion-euro austerity package in October and will decide later this year on additional measures of 4.3 billion euros for 2014. The Netherlands, in the throes of a housing-market slump and facing its third recession since 2009, has breached the European Union’s deficit limit of 3 percent of gross domestic product since then.

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