The Netherlands would support the International Monetary Fund (IMF) taking on a greater financial role in the euro zone bailout, the Dutch prime minister said Saturday but refused to be drawn on other options being discussed in Brussels.
Attention has been shifting to ways to leverage the bailout fund, known as the European Financial Stability Facility, possibly with private capital or to turn it into a bank to deal with Europe's debt crisis and potentially recapitalize banks in the event of a Greek default.
The Netherlands is in favor of a bigger role for the IMF, both in expertise ... but also financially, Mark Rutte said.
The discussion within the IMF and G20 on giving the IMF greater financial power is very welcome.
He said that Brazil, Russia, India and China had reacted positively to an IMF agreement to evaluate the idea of giving the IMF greater financial power and the Netherlands was urging Europe to take a positive stance on that.
The prime minister was criticized by MPs Saturday for Europe's response to the debt crisis.
Roland Plasterk, finance spokesman for the country's largest opposition party Labor PvdA, said leaders had made an enormous mess of things and he was now in favor of giving the European Central Bank a greater role in the fund.
The minority coalition government of Liberals and Christian Democrats needs the support of the Labor party for any new measures to solve the debt crisis because its main ally, the eurosceptic Freedom Party, is firmly opposed to bailouts.
Under questioning from Plasterk, the prime minister said the government had become more positive to the idea of a tax on financial transactions, having earlier opposed the measure.
Rutte said he had recently discussed the idea with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy and the proposal would be discussed at the G20.
The cabinet is in favor of this tax, but we are not in favor if it is introduced by just a number of countries because the effect could be enormous, Rutte said.
Rutte said the tax could have great consequences on the competitiveness of Dutch banks if only a couple of countries implemented it.
(Reporting By Aaron Gray-Block)