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Lawmakers call on Dutch government to oppose ECB bond buying
October 5, 2016 / 3:12 PM / a year ago

Lawmakers call on Dutch government to oppose ECB bond buying

AMSTERDAM, Oct 5 (Reuters) - Lawmakers are calling on the Dutch government to seek an end to the European Central Bank’s bond purchasing programmes which they say is driving the country’s pension system towards crisis.

A proposal tabled late on Tuesday by the opposition Christian Democrat party calls on the Cabinet to rally like-minded governments such as Germany to try all legal avenues, including treaty change if necessary, to end the policy.

Pieter Omtzigt, who drafted the proposal, told Reuters he believes that when Dutch and other European voters begin to see their pensions cut as a result of the region’s ultra-low interest rates, pressure to abandon the policy will escalate.

“The outcome will be that the ECB in the end will stick to the role originally seen for it...promoting economic stability without huge interference in the bond market,” he said.

The government was preparing its response on Wednesday.

Despite a ban on political interference on monetary policy, the proposal has support from both far left and right political parties in a country whose own Central Bank President -- Klaas Knot -- has been a dissenting vote on ECB decisions to expand quantitative easing.

Dutch pension funds are feeling the pinch of ultra-low or negative interest rates and falling yields, and in August the ABP fund, with 379 billion euros in assets under management, said its coverage ratio had fallen to 89.9 percent, below the 90 percent level at which it would have to cut benefits in 2017.

The country’s Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who is also president of the Eurogroup, was due to respond to the proposal on Wednesday. ECB President Mario Draghi is due to appear in the Dutch parliament on Feb. 8 to defend the policy. (Reporting by Toby Sterling; Editing by Alexander Smith)

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