Dutch far-right leader challenges ESM ratification

Tuesday 29 May 2012 12.17
Geert Wilders, on left, with Dutch PM Mark Rutte after Wilders pulled out of government triggering an election.
Geert Wilders, on left, with Dutch PM Mark Rutte after Wilders pulled out of government triggering an election.

Dutch far-right politician Geert Wilders has taken a court action to delay Dutch approval of the ESM.

The politician, who pulled out of the Dutch government last month, wants the vote delayed until after September's election.

The Netherlands is expected to contribute some 5.71% or just over €40 billion in total -- to the ESM.

The Netherlands must not ratify a law on backing Europe's long-term bailout plan until after September elections, a lawyer for far-right politician Geert Wilders said Tuesday.

Wilders has challenged the government in court after last week failing to stop the lower house from voting in favour of the multi-billion-euro European Stability Mechanism (ESM), set up to help heavily indebted countries.

The bill requires upper house approval at a date yet to be determined.

"Wilders, as an ordinary Dutch citizen, wants the state to postpone the decision on the ESM until after elections on September 12," his lawyer, Bram Moszkowicz, told The Hague district court, calling the law "illegal".

"Only after the elections will Dutch citizens be able to give their opinion about this law," he said, adding that "we believe that the majority of Dutch citizens are against the ratification of the ESM."

The far-right leader, also know for his anti-Islam stance, a month ago walked out of talks with Prime Minister Mark Rutte's coalition government over budget cuts, prompting Rutte's cabinet to call new elections.

The ESM, a permanent rescue fund, was created to ease market pressure on indebted euro zone nations such as Greece and prevent contagion across the single currency region.

It is due to be launched in July and will run in parallel with the temporary European Financial Stability Facility for one year.

Wilders opposes the ESM's endorsement, which he described as "a transfer of sovereignty to Brussels."

Judge Roel Paris will hand down a judgement on the issue on Friday.