By Gabriela Baczynska and Anthony Deutsch
BRUSSELS/AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – As the European Union hammered out an emergency economic package this week for countries reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Dutch held true to their reputation for thriftiness by refusing to support a plea by southern members to take on collective debt.
And while the bloc’s 27 finance ministers agreed to half-a-trillion euros in relief on Thursday, the contentious issue of “eurobonds” – jointly issued debt – was left unresolved. A reference to “innovative financial instruments” enabled both sides to declare having won political concessions.
EU powerhouse Germany, Austria, Finland and others had also expressed objections to debt mutualisation, but Dutch Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra was ultimately…