Right-wing party proposes returning to guilder

Sat, Nov 12, 2011, 00:00

DUTCH PERSPECTIVE:GEERT WILDERS and his right-wing Freedom Party (PVV) say they will press for a referendum on abandoning the euro and returning the Netherlands to its old currency, the guilder, if a report they’ve commissioned from an international consultancy says it would be good for the economy.

Since last year, the anti-Islamic PVV has been supporting Holland’s minority Liberal (VVD/Christian Democrat (CDA) coalition government, and wielding considerable influence over policy, particularly a tougher approach to immigration.

The suggestion of a referendum comes following a new survey by political pollsters, Maurice de Hond. This shows 58 per cent of Dutch believe a return to the guilder would benefit the country – up from 51 per cent in May.

“The cabinet is frightening us by telling us the lights will go out if we leave the euro,” Mr Wilders said in The Hague last night, after prime minister Mark Rutte and finance minister Jan Kees de Jager dismissed his proposal as “bad for Europe” and “simply not an option”.

“But we want to know if going back to the guilder would deliver more sovereignty and security . . . it should not frighten us,” said Mr Wilders.

Although the Netherlands has the lowest unemployment rate in the euro zone, its economy is slowing. Growth was just 0.2 per cent in the third quarter, and is expected to fall by half, to just 0.1 per cent, in the fourth quarter.