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Germany welcomes pro-Europe Dutch vote

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Germany welcomes pro-Europe Dutch vote
Mark Rutte. Photo: DPA
12:30 CEST+02:00
Germany on Thursday welcomed the success of pro-European forces in the Dutch election and heavy losses by the far right, saying the result would bolster eurozone crisis-fighting.

"The election outcome strengthens Europe and weakens the populists and nationalists," Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said in a statement.

"After the important decisions in recent days, we must use the momentum to continue developing Europe and prepare it for the future in an age of globalisation."

Dutch Liberal Prime Minister Mark Rutte vowed to work hard Thursday to form a government quickly after receiving a solid mandate to battle the eurozone's debt crisis at the expense of anti-EU populism.

His ruling VVD won Wednesday's election with 41 seats, just two more than centre-left rivals Labour, while far-right leader Geert Wilders' anti-Islam PVV party suffered a humiliating defeat after changing tack to attack Brussels.

The victory by Rutte's VVD, closely followed by rising Labour star Diederik Samsom's PvdA, means that the new coalition will be moderate and marks a victory for parties committed to debt-busting austerity.

The election came on the same day as a pivotal decision by Germany's Constitutional Court backing the ratification of crucial euro crisis-fighting tools, the European Stability Mechanism bailout fund and fiscal pact.

AFP/hc

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