Dutch minister: U.S. sacrificing growth for politics would be 'tragedy'
updated 5:14 PM EST, Fri March 1, 2013
- 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
updated 1:24 PM EDT, Thu May 23, 2013
"It's always the one we feared, the lone wolf that can come from nowhere and not be on our radar," said ex-London police chief John Yates.
One woman's never-ending battle against sex slavery in the Philippines, with a warrior ally in her corner. Watch the compelling documentary here.
updated 6:43 AM EDT, Thu May 23, 2013
Ai Weiwei, the controversial Chinese artist-activist, has released a music single and video inspired by his harrowing detention by the government.
updated 1:22 AM EDT, Thu May 23, 2013
CNN's Christiane Amanpour and Nic Robertson give their insight on the brutal murder of a man in broad daylight.
updated 11:49 AM EDT, Thu May 23, 2013
President Obama is to speak on the CIA drone program and plans for the Guantanamo Bay prison camp. Here are common counterterrorism myths.
updated 10:15 AM EDT, Thu May 23, 2013
Imagine if you could paint a working light switch directly onto your wall, without any need for sockets, cables or wiring. Well, now you can.
updated 10:45 AM EDT, Thu May 23, 2013
A rare Apple 1 computer, with only 50 in existence today, could sell at auction for $400,000.
updated 3:08 PM EDT, Thu May 23, 2013
1,400 members of the Boy Scouts of America's national council are expected to vote on whether to end the 103-year-old group's ban on gay youths.
updated 1:14 PM EDT, Tue May 21, 2013
Did you know that hurricanes can also produce tornadoes? Read facts you didn't know about destructive twisters.
updated 9:01 AM EDT, Wed May 22, 2013
The petite frame of 19-year-old Zoe Smith should fool nobody -- she's a weightlifting warrior who has fought stereotypes and broken a British record.
updated 10:55 AM EDT, Wed May 22, 2013
According to the United Nations' mission in Iraq, 712 Iraqis were violently killed in April 2013. This is both normal and extraordinary.
updated 7:19 AM EDT, Thu May 23, 2013
The World Economic Forum has declared Egypt one of the most dangerous places for tourists, above Yemen and Pakistan in terms of risks for visitors.
updated 5:07 PM EDT, Thu May 23, 2013
Doctors used an experimental technique never before tried on a human to save the life of a six-week-old baby from a rare lung condition.
updated 5:26 PM EDT, Wed May 22, 2013
Since hitting the Web in 2007, the hit blogs among the 105 million hosted on Tumblr have tended to be silly, snarky or both.
Five years after the 2008 Olympics construction boom, new Beijing hotels keep right on coming.