Skip to main content

Dutch minister: U.S. sacrificing growth for politics would be 'tragedy'

From Nina dos Santos, CNN
March 1, 2013 -- Updated 2214 GMT (0614 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The U.S. is facing $85 billion in spending cuts that will begin to take effect on Friday
  • The cuts are a product of the sequester, a series of automatic cuts to government spending
  • Timmermans says the euro area will gradually move toward more fiscal cohesion

(CNN) -- U.S. politicians must not sacrifice economic growth for the sake of political differences, according to Dutch foreign minister Frans Timmermans.

The world's largest economy is facing $85 billion in spending cuts that will begin to take effect on Friday.

Timmermans told CNN's Nina Dos Santos that Europe is eager to see growth in the U.S. and says it would be a "tragedy" if tribal politics hinders progress on economic expansion.

He added: "I do hope that our colleagues in Congress will be responsible enough to solve that problem."

The cuts are a product of the sequester, a series of automatic, across-the-board cuts to government agencies, totaling $1.2 trillion over 10 years. These would be split 50-50 between defense and domestic discretionary spending.

Timmermans also commented on the outlook for the eurozone.

Speaking in the wake of the Italian elections on Monday, the Dutch minister said he is "fairly confident" that Italy will find a solution to its political problems as it has done in the past.

The elections in Italy -- the eurozone's third-largest economy -- ended in political deadlock this week following a three-way battle between center-left leader Pier Luigi Bersani, former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and comedian Beppe Grillo.

Timmermans believes political stability is needed in the 17-nation eurozone to implement genuine reform following a debt crisis that has plagued the region for over three years.

He says the euro area will gradually move toward more fiscal cohesion while the difference with the 10 European Union nations outside the single currency area should remain "as small as possible."

The UK in particular is trying to renegotiate its relationship with the 27-nation trade bloc and has promised a referendum on EU membership by 2017.

He added: "I think we already have a two or multi-tier Europe in many domains and I think Europe is so diverse that we need different speeds on different subjects. I'm not afraid of that."

CNN's Oliver Joy contributed to this report

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
July 24, 2014 -- Updated 2006 GMT (0406 HKT)
ITN's Dan Rivers reports from the hospital where those injured by an attack in Gaza were being treated.
July 25, 2014 -- Updated 1808 GMT (0208 HKT)
Flight attendants are wearing black ribbons to show solidarity with fallen colleagues in "a tribute to those who never made it home."
July 25, 2014 -- Updated 2016 GMT (0416 HKT)
Hamas: "Lift the siege." Israel: "End the rockets." The two sides' demands will be difficult to reconcile.
July 23, 2014 -- Updated 0804 GMT (1604 HKT)
When the Costa Concordia and its salvage convoy finally depart Giglio, the residents will breathe a sigh of relief -- and shed a tear.
July 22, 2014 -- Updated 2053 GMT (0453 HKT)
CNN's Richard Quest speaks to Malaysia Airlines' Hugh Dunleavy about how the airline industry needs to react to MH17.
July 24, 2014 -- Updated 2042 GMT (0442 HKT)
From Maastricht to Melbourne, and baroque theaters to block-long warehouses, these stores make bookish travelers look stylish.
July 23, 2014 -- Updated 1857 GMT (0257 HKT)
A nun, an AIDS researcher, an athlete and a family traveling on summer vacation. These were some of the victims aboard MH17.
July 22, 2014 -- Updated 0021 GMT (0821 HKT)
Prince George isn't your average one year old. He started walking before he was one. Oh, and, he's going to be king -- of 16 countries.
July 18, 2014 -- Updated 0621 GMT (1421 HKT)
In an ambitious plan to upgrade urban India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi says he will build 100 "smart cities" across the country.
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
July 25, 2014 -- Updated 1317 GMT (2117 HKT)
After just one day of competition, a new sport has emerged at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow: snapping selfies with the Queen.
ADVERTISEMENT