Dutch: We Can Live Without Greece in Eurozone

Dutch leaders suggest that the European single currency would survive a Greek exit.

The Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte and European Commissioner Neelie Kroes both said on Tuesday that the single currency area would survive a Greek exit.

Rutte said in a radio interview that the eurozone could “handle” a country leaving the union because the risk of contagion has now been sufficiently reduced.

His words echoed those of Kroes’ who told the Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant that “it is just not true” that the euro would collapse if Greece were to give up the currency. Kroes is a member of the Netherlands’ ruling liberal party which Rutte heads.

She criticized the Greek government for failing to implement the sort of austerity measures that would enable the country to stave off the specter of sovereign default. “The Greeks should realize that ‘we Dutchmen’ and ‘we Germans’ can only sell the financial aid to Greece to our taxpayers if there is proof of good will.”

German chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday that “time is running out” for Greece to show that it is making progress toward reducing public spending in order to apply for a second European bailout worth €130 billion.

The country desperately needs foreign aid to continue to finance its debt obligations this month. As it fails to meet budget commitments and promises on privatizations, the political will in the fiscally solvent eurozone member states in the north of the continent to help the Greeks has virtually dissipated.