Dutch socialist against European neo-conservative austerity

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Socialist ‘not tied to’ EU limits

Thursday 16 August 2012

by Our Foreign Desk

Netherlands prime ministerial candidate Emile Roemer said today that he would not feel bound by Europe’s rules to keep budget deficits within EU limits if elected.

Mr Roemer is the leader of the Socialist Party, which is neck-and-neck with Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s conservative party in early opinion polls ahead of the September 12 elections.

Mr Roemer said in an interview that it was “idiocy” to fixate on meeting the EU rule and said he would pay any fine from Brussels “over my dead body.”

This reminds me of the saying in Britain: “It is better to break the law than to break the poor”.

This video from England says about itself:

This year [2011] marks the 90th anniversary of the struggle of councillors in Poplar, east London, against government cuts. This culminated in their going to prison with the slogan ‘better to break the law than to break the poor’.

Now in the Netherlands: better to break the European bureaucrats’ Thatcherite austerity rules than to break health care, education, poor people, etc.

The EU rules require governments to keep budget deficits below 3 per cent of GDP but has been honoured more in the breach than the observance.

Big countries like Angela Merkel‘s Germany and Sarkozy‘s France could break these rules without being punished; contrary to smaller Greece.

The Socialist Party has never participated in any Dutch government but has eclipsed the traditional Labour Party in recent polls, with a more radical agenda including raising taxes on corporations and the wealthy while maintaining benefits for the less well off.

Labour published its own 10-point election platform today, as Dutch people return from their holidays and campaigning gathers steam.

Labour is the second-largest party in parliament but its support among voters fell to about 10 per cent recently after it backed the conservative government on unpopular eurozone rescue aid packages.

Mr Rutte’s cabinet collapsed in April over its determination to back the 3 per cent limit and his caretaker government has still vowed to do so.

Netherlands: The rise and rise of the Dutch Socialist Party: here.

Analysis: A portrait of a Greek city in crisis: here.

European Union intensifies pressure on Greece for social cuts: here.

German chancellor demands tougher austerity in Greece: here.