Netherlands to Hold Inquiry into Whether It Can Ditch Euro

Michael Kooren/Reuters

The Dutch parliament is to hold an inquiry on whether it could ditch euro, amid growing scepticism of the European single currency.

MPs voted unanimously to conduct the report over concerns the European Central Bank’s low interest rates are hurting savers in the Netherlands. It will examine whether it is technically possible for the Netherlands to withdraw from the currency.

The inquiry’s results are not due until after parliamentary elections in March, when Geert Wilders’s Eurosceptic anti-Islamisation party is likely to make large gains as part of the spread of populism across Europe.

De Dagelijkse Standaard reports the motion was tabled by Pieter Omtzigt from the establishment conservative Christian Democrats, possibly as an attempt to outflank Mr Wilders and take supporters back from the Party of Freedom.

Mr Wilders has promised a referendum euro membership if he takes power in March, with polls suggesting his party could emerge as the largest in the Dutch parliament. However, it is likely other parties will form a coalition to stop him becoming Prime Minister and keep the Party of Freedom out of office.

The timing of the inquiry suggests mainstream parties in the Netherlands are increasingly concerned about the rise in popularity of Mr Wilders, to the point where they are prepared to imitate some of his policies in the hope of diluting his support.

Mr Wilders was forced to suspend his campaign earlier this week after it emerged a member of his security detail may have been leaking police information about his assignment to a Moroccan gang.

Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad alleges the officer, who is himself of Moroccan origin, had been under investigation for security violations in the past, and that his brother had been fired from the police for leaking information, and had also been investigated for rape.

Mr Wilder’s strong stance against Islamism has led to him requiring 24-hour police protection thanks to threats from Islamist extremists.