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
April 18, 2014 -- Updated 1439 GMT (2239 HKT)
Tethered to an IV drip, 71-year-old Shin Young Ja lies under a thin fleece blanket, nursing a broken back and wracked with survivor's guilt.
April 18, 2014 -- Updated 1123 GMT (1923 HKT)
Family members of the missing passengers are pinning slim hopes on floundering air pockets.
April 17, 2014 -- Updated 1614 GMT (0014 HKT)
An Iranian mother slaps and then forgives her 17-year old son's murderer in dramatic scenes at the gallows.
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 1135 GMT (1935 HKT)
An "extraordinary" video shows what looks like the largest and most dangerous gathering of al Qaeda in years.
April 14, 2014 -- Updated 1230 GMT (2030 HKT)
Explore each side's case, reconstructed from Pistorius' court affidavit and the prosecution's case during last year's bail hearing.
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 1237 GMT (2037 HKT)
Mentions of the 1989 Tiananmen Square student protests or political reform are still censored in China.
April 18, 2014 -- Updated 0934 GMT (1734 HKT)
The Hadza are one of the last communities of hunter-gatherers in the world -- but losing their land.
April 19, 2014 -- Updated 0122 GMT (0922 HKT)
In choosing to change a traditional practice, Francis is being as radical as Jesus was in his own time.
April 18, 2014 -- Updated 1113 GMT (1913 HKT)
Too weak. Can't handle pressure. Unattractive to sponsors. Susie Wolff has heard it all.
April 20, 2014 -- Updated 0249 GMT (1049 HKT)
Browse through images you don't always see on news reports from CNN teams around the world.
April 18, 2014 -- Updated 1230 GMT (2030 HKT)
It's like finding a needle in a universe-wide haystack. Researchers have located a planet roughly the size of Earth that could be habitable.
April 18, 2014 -- Updated 0940 GMT (1740 HKT)
Dubai, long champion of all things biggest, longest and most expensive, will soon have some competition from a neighboring country.
ADVERTISEMENT