Dutch minister: U.S. sacrificing growth for politics would be 'tragedy'
March 1, 2013 -- Updated 2214 GMT (0614 HKT)
- 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
Part of complete coverage on
May 20, 2013 -- Updated 1639 GMT (0039 HKT)
No solutions to the violence and total confusion is no longer just news, but a terrifying daily reality. Has Nigeria descended into civil war?
May 20, 2013 -- Updated 0817 GMT (1617 HKT)
On the eve of the French Open, attention turns to the illness that has struck down several players. Why is it hitting tennis so hard?
May 20, 2013 -- Updated 1409 GMT (2209 HKT)
Daycare, hour-long lunch breaks, free medicine? Not all of Bangladesh's factories are sweatshops, but many fear the crisis will hit them hard.
May 20, 2013 -- Updated 1314 GMT (2114 HKT)
A group of bright minds at California Institute of Technology invented the 'toilet of the future,' a solar-powered wc that could save lives.
May 20, 2013 -- Updated 1315 GMT (2115 HKT)
Chinese Premier is meeting India's leaders just weeks after raising the stakes in one of Asia's least understood and longest running disputes.
May 20, 2013 -- Updated 1115 GMT (1915 HKT)
Despite unemployment being close to 12%, Italians are snubbing traditional jobs no longer viewed as attractive -- like pizza-making.
May 20, 2013 -- Updated 1507 GMT (2307 HKT)
The woman behind the Chelsea Flower Show talks with CNN about the preparations and the 100th anniversary of the iconic horticultural gathering.
May 19, 2013 -- Updated 2338 GMT (0738 HKT)
CNN's Dan Rivers reports on the influx of companies into Myanmar after the country opened up to foreign business.
May 16, 2013 -- Updated 1914 GMT (0314 HKT)
Boxing legend Manny Pacquiao is using his hero status to fight human trafficking in the Philippines, pushing for an anti-trafficking law.
May 20, 2013 -- Updated 1522 GMT (2322 HKT)
On Wednesday, NASA officials announced a serious problem with the Kepler satellite, the world's most successful planet-finding machine.
May 17, 2013 -- Updated 1354 GMT (2154 HKT)
Anthony Bourdain discovers a American style, fast-food chicken restaurant that opened in Libya after the revolution -- and became a hit instantly.
May 20, 2013 -- Updated 1822 GMT (0222 HKT)
As we mark 140 years since blue jeans were invented, we want to see the best and worst ways you've worn denim through the years.
Today's five most popular stories