A talk with Jeroen Dijsselbloem December 11th, 2016

Q & A With The Minister
Tonight, Scope Economics joins the Ambassador Lecture Series in presenting a question and answer with Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Dutch minister of finance who is also the president of Eurogroup and the chairman of European Stability Mechanism Board of Governors. Seventeen questions were asked by the audience and seventeen questions were answered by Mr. Dijsselbloem. These were some of the questions posed tonight. In celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Maastricht Treaty, Mr. Dijsselbloem echoed that our world is definitely changing and that challenges are starting to be seen within European Union.  But with this problem we should continue to remain and finish what we have started together and not adhere to fear and abandon the Union. The minister was alluding to Brexit and how we as a Union should not follow in Britain's footsteps by leaving.

Q: As president of Eurogroup, what is your take on fiscal policies?
A: The fiscal group is still important as fiscal policies are still good for stability, even more so if the rule is applied straight.  We have been lenient on policy and austerity would have been tougher and would have led to a worse crisis. I am worried if companies does not take a buffer. (Dijsselbleom has criticized EU countries for not being defined by its rules.) We are finding a good balance between fiscal rules and budget. Fiscal rules debate is now become redundant; the problem is finding investments.

Q: Propaganda within the EU, how do you view propaganda and its infiltration of government?
A: Bad national politics is more worrisome as it causes a domino effect in EU group. Some countries do have a better end of the Euro bargain. But everyone knew this when they sign Maastricht treaty. The Union has nothing to do in terms of dealing with propaganda. It is the responsibility of national government.

Q: Why did you turn a blind eye to non-implementation of reform policy?
A: Some say that we are tough, some say we are lenient. (Mr. Dijsselbloem commented that reform within Greece has been implemented.) Greece national policies is at fault, they are bad. Greece has constantly shown to be collapsing.

Q: What is the direction that the expansionary policy? Mario Draghi?
A:This is a very unique policy. We will normalize our policies. We are in a territory we do not understand.

Q: Economic models is still linear in a complex world. Do we need a newer thinking?
A: Yes, we need newer approaches. To deal with our problems, we need to work together but that entails more complexity. We need to corporate more internationally.

Q: When asked about the recent Italian political situation.
A:(Dijsselbloem is disappointed in the Renzi referendum loss.) The new government should pick up referendum. We need a private(banks) solution. Not the whole Italian market sector, it is specific problem. The framework established is helping the European banking union.

Q: On the upcoming Dutch election, The Netherlands’ leaving Brussels (EU)?
A: We should ignore the polls as public does not care and still has a long time to decide. Mr. Dijsselbloem still feels that the Dutch are annoyed with the bureaucracy of Brussels but wants to remain in European Union. Stability of the EU zone is evident as seen by the celebration of 25 years of Maastricht Treaty. We have come a long way. We have lifted outside borders evidenced by the Shaner area. Asylum has shown faults. Let us get it right and we need to improve, and not abandon.

Q: On monitory policy, is it necessary to have fiscal union?
A: He did not feel so. We spend the highest in health care and education, we should organize this at a national level. Markets are very different at every level. Policy is the guide to EU frameworks. We need a federal union, a capital union. We have to finish what we started.

Q: On banking reforms, would the council like the decision?
A: We need to reduce risk and share the risk. Banking union is different and proposal need to be kept. Some minister would. New capital is hard to find. We need solid capital requirements. (He would push to make solid proposal.)

Q: On rising in euroskepticism. Do we need more or less the euro?
A: We have spent 4 trillion to save banks. It has led a huge impact on debts, recent recession caused this. The banking union is our long term solution.
A1: We need to confront populism head on.

Q: What is your opinion on Brexit?
A: The Netherlands has a strong relation with England. We are allies. But they have chosen to leave. We (Dutch) should not make trade hard. We need a hard brexit. We need financial sectors to comply to EU compliance, not UK compliance.

Q: No nation wants to make reforms. How do we stabilize?
A: Let us acknowledge rules. Respect the rules.

Q: How do we keep you on the ballot?
A: Run for me. We need to work on the campaign. I don't care about big jobs I care about this country.

Q: How do face the credibility of EU?
A: Hive mentality is really definite. Especially in the top dogs(Germany). EU credibility is always going to be questioned. We need to in this together.

Q: What are your thoughts on the current the discrimination case*?
A: No one is above the law. (He took a back seat and stated that it is the jobs of judges to decide and he would accept the verdict should it come.)

Q: What led to the Greece issue?
A: Greek banks had bad policy and the Commission was wrong to help them out. The European Union has to trust people more now. The European has taken action in its trust for people by lowering interest rates and loan. The real issue Europe faces now is economic growth and the struggle to get there. (Jereon echoed that stability is key.)

Q: Extending relation with Russia. Comments from external nations on sanctions.
A: We require some steps. Russians need to have a different attitude.

**These are not quotes but approximate answers to the questions in the session**
Thomas Sijpkens