Dutch PM Mark Rutte against new EU debt as response to Ukraine war

PARIS — Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte Wednesday rejected the idea of creating a new European fund financed via common debt to tackle the economic consequences of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Rutte said he saw no need — for now, at least — for a new version of the EU’s historic debt-financed pandemic recovery fund, known as NextGenerationEU.

“I am not at this stage agreeing with a NextGenerationEU mark 2,” Rutte told reporters in Paris ahead of a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron.

The Dutch prime minister said it would be better to use resources already available under the recovery fund, rather than issuing more European debt.

Rutte said a new debt-financed fund would mean “a country [such] as the Netherlands would spend a lot of money not on ourselves but on others. I think that was justifiable in NextGenEU but now with all the issues we are also facing … that is a different debate now.”

He added that “there are many existing instruments and we should make maximum use of those.”

The European Commission is assessing options to fund measures to tackle the economic consequences of the war, including issuing new common debt. France, for one, has indicated it is open to the idea.

“We must not deny ourselves this option,” Clément Beaune, France’s EU affairs minister, told POLITICO on Tuesday, saying that increased military efforts would have to be funded one way or the other.

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