Dutch Lawmakers to Debate Benefits of Euro as Election Looms

Dutch lawmakers want the government’s top advisory body to examine how well the euro is working, a review that could raise the question of the Netherlands’s future in the single-currency region.

A majority in the Parliament in The Hague voted in favor of a motion to ask the Council of State for information. It was proposed by opposition Christian Democrat lawmaker Pieter Omtzigt, a vocal critic of the impact of the European Central Bank’s low interest rates on pensioners. 

The council received the letter on Monday and the review covers the major treaties on European Union governance. It isn’t likely to be completed before national elections next month.

The vote on March 15 could spell a major shakeup in Dutch politics, with the Freedom Party led by Geert Wilders riding a wave of populism to take the lead in most recent polls. If replicated in the election, Wilders’s anti-Islam party may become the biggest in the parliament, ahead of Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s Liberal Party.

While Wilders has advocated leaving the EU, support for the euro among the Dutch remains high. Some 61 percent said in a 2016 Eurobarometer study that the euro has been a “good thing” for their country, above the average reading for the 19 member countries.

ECB President Mario Draghi is due to attend the Dutch parliament in May, where he may have to defend the bank’s actions in recent years and highlight how the single currency is working. He’s previously faced critical lawmakers in Germany, where he used an appearance at the Bundestag in Berlin to defend ECB policies against accusations that they have hurt savers and banks.

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