One after one, the eurozone´s southern member countries are joining the club of beggars. Yesterday Cyprus was the fifth country to request financial aid from its eurozone partners. Italy is still missing, but it cannot take long before it also applies for "membership" in this less and less exclusive club. However, there are clear signs that some of the few remaining northern paymasters are beginning ask whether it is worth to continue pretending that the current bailout policies are working:
Although the Netherlands was one of the six founder members of the European Economic Community in 1957, the Dutch have soured towards EU integration over the last decade and voted down a European Union constitution in a 2005 referendum.
Taxpayers who pride themselves on frugality and clean government have been outraged by having to pay for fellow euro zone countries' perceived overspending and sleaze.
They are particularly allergic to the idea, driven by Germany and France, that the best and possibly the only way to save the euro is through much closer fiscal and political union.
A Maurice de Hond poll published on June 10 found that 64 percent were against Merkel's proposal to gradually move towards political union, and just 20 percent felt the only way to overcome the crisis was to transfer more power to Brussels.
About four-fifths, or 82 percent, said the issue of Europe would play a major role in the coming election, while 70 percent wanted to see less saving and more economic stimulus next year.
RETURN TO THE GUILDER?
Previous polls have found that a substantial minority hanker for a return to the guilder. That has fuelled the populists.
The Netherlands is going through its own economic crisis, and has been in recession since the middle of last year.
The Dutch are nowhere near as badly off as the Greeks or Spanish, but many are feeling the pinch and this is hurting consumer confidence and spending.
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Last week Finland´s finance minister ruled out a full financial union:
Finance Minister Jutta Urpilainen says Finland cannot support the idea of a full financial union to save the euro as put forward by the head of the IMF Christine Lagarde.
“Our view is that we cannot share common responsibility for existing southern European debts,” Urpilainen affirmed.