Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte promised voters that the Netherlands won΄t give any more aid to Greece if he remains in power, and said it may be inevitable that Greece will leave the euro zone.
Mr. Rutte, who made the remarks in a televised election debate, is a likely candidate to head a new government as his center-right Liberal Party is currently leading the polls ahead of Sept. 12 general elections.
In the past two years, Mr. Rutte has been a staunch critic of Greece΄s reform efforts as he seeks to appease growing resentment from voters on euro-zone bailouts.
His comments come as Greece is seeking more time to meet its fiscal targets from its creditors. Premier Antonis Samaras recently met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande to discuss ways of easing the terms of the country΄s fiscal adjustment plan.
In the election debate, Mr. Rutte said he would allow Greece only extra time if it wouldn΄t cost extra money.
“After several calculations, we think that this will result in extra costs. [Greece] has to put its own house in order,” he said.
Mr. Rutte said he still wants to keep Greece as a member of the euro zone, but only if the country sticks to its promises.
“An exit may be inevitable, but it will be up to Greece to make that decision,” he said, adding that the euro zone would now be able to cope with a Greek exit.
“An orderly exit is possible, but not desirable.”
(source: Dow Jones)