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Spanish Bailout ‘Up to Spain’: Dutch Finance Minister

Reported by Silvia Wadhwa, written by Catherine Boyle, CNBC

Spain has got to make its own decision about whether or not to ask for a full bailout, the finance minister of the Netherlands told CNBC after a fraught summit of euro zone finance ministers.

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The country, one of the euro zone’s biggest economies, is believed to be one of those most at risk of requesting aid from the troika of international lenders which has bailed out other struggling euro zone states.

Jan Kees de Jager, the Dutch Finance Minister, told CNBC: “It’s up to Spain whether or not to ask for a further program.

“There is still a lot to gain for Spain in Europe without asking for a full program. But it’s up to Spain, whether or not to do that. I’m not pushing them in any direction.” (Read More:Spain Calls Europe's Bluff)

“It’s also very important that it continues the path of economic reform and austerity because this is the structural approach,” he added.

De Jager was talking on the fringes of a meeting of euro zone finance ministers in Cyprus.

He also denied that the European Central Bank (ECB) may set the political agenda through its planned bond-buying program, announced recently and known as Outright Monetary Transactions (OMTs). The issue of what conditions will be imposed on the countries which benefit from the program has not yet been fixed.

De Jager said: “The ECB is not setting a political agenda whatsoever.

“Because they cannot set the conditions themselves, they have invited the IMF to do that. And as you know, we have from the beginning on… been a big supporter of IMF engagement because they have all the experience of economic reforms and austerity measures.”

He added that the prospect of giving the new European Stability Mechanism a banking license was “not on the table.”

De Jager has been a key supporter of Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte in the current government, but may lose his post after his Christian Democratic Party put in a disastrous performance in this month’s election in the Netherlands. (Read More: )

Written by Catherine Boyle, CNBC. Twitter: @catboyle01