Skip to main content

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

From Nina dos Santos, CNN
updated 5:14 PM EST, Fri March 1, 2013
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
updated 4:09 PM EDT, Tue September 23, 2014
The U.S. and several Arab nations carried out airstrikes against ISIS in Syria, intensifying the campaign against the militant group.
updated 8:18 AM EDT, Tue September 23, 2014
Her friends were raped and her brother was killed by ISIS, but 15-year-old "Aria" managed to escape.
updated 6:58 AM EDT, Tue September 23, 2014
Emma Watson lent her name and her glittery profile to the cause of feminism at the United Nations.
updated 9:06 PM EDT, Mon September 22, 2014
From Gadhafi to Ahmadinejad, Bush to Chavez: look back at memorable moments from past UNGA sessions. Richard Roth reports.
updated 3:41 AM EDT, Tue September 23, 2014
Just days after NASA's Mars orbiter reached the Red Planet, India's first mission could follow suit and make history.
updated 7:14 PM EDT, Tue September 23, 2014
Khorasan, al Qaeda's new branch, seeks new ways to attack America and Europe.
Alibaba officially became the biggest initial public offering of all time, confirming that in the final tally it raised $25 billion.
updated 10:57 PM EDT, Mon September 22, 2014
Do the Chinese really like to mix their Bordeaux with Coca-Cola?
updated 5:36 AM EDT, Tue September 23, 2014
Cape Town native, Janine Davies is South Africa's first female rider to compete on a national level.
In the largely male-dominated world of the motorsport, South African super bike racer Janine Davies is an anomaly.
updated 7:30 AM EDT, Tue September 23, 2014
The Lilongwe Wildlife Center houses over 200 animal victims and helps rehabilitate them back into the wild.
updated 6:52 AM EDT, Tue September 23, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT