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US could learn from the Dutch: EU’s Rehn

Monday, 14 Oct 2013 | 10:58 AM ET
The US needs to be responsible: Olli Rehn
Olli Rehn, economic and monetary affairs commissioner for the European Union, urges the U.S. to overcome its "fiscal deadlock" and says both Spain and Ireland should end their bailout programs "successfully", very shortly.

Squabbling U.S. politicians could learn from the Netherlands, where the government has just struck a "very significant" budget agreement, Olli Rehn, the vice-president of the European Commission, told CNBC on Monday.

After two weeks of wrangling, the Dutch government struck a deal on Friday that included 6 billion euros ($8.1 billion) in budget cuts in 2014, despite opposition from three political parties, and the lack of a majority in one house of the legislature.

In an exclusive interview with CNBC, Rehn praised the Netherlands' pact as a triumph of "responsibility over brinkmanship" and hinted that the U.S. could do likewise.

(Read more: Britain cannot 'gamble' with EU membership)

"We have just a few days ago seen a very important budget deal in the Netherlands and I want to congratulate Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the government and parts of the opposition for the very significant budget deal. This is an example of a victory of responsibility over brinkmanship," said Rehn, who is in charge of economic and monetary affairs for the European Union.

"Perhaps it is now time for the U.S. policymakers to… score a victory of responsibility in this very important situation."

(Track European markets live)

He added that there could be a significant fall-out if the U.S. failed to solve its budget impasse.

"I think it's very important that the United States should overcome its fiscal gridlock otherwise we could have potentially dramatic consequences into the world economy, and of course it could also have negative ramifications to the… recovery in Europe," Rehn said.

The U.S. government has remained in partial shutdown since October 1, after Democrats and Republicans failed to agree on how to fund the government until year-end, following a dispute over President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act.

Weekend talks between lawmakers to strike a deal were unsuccessful, and they now face an additional hurdle — raising the debt ceiling before October 17 to avoid a potential sovereign default.

—By CNBC's Katy Barnato. Follow CNBC on Twitter: @CNBCWorld

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