Without agreement on corona loans, CAS countries face tens of millions in additional costs

July 17, 2023  –THE HAGUE – If Curaçao, Aruba, and Sint Maarten fail to reach an agreement with the Netherlands on the refinancing of corona loans before October 10th, it will cost them respectively 54 million, 54 million, and 18 million in additional interest per year. 

State Secretary for Kingdom Relations, Alexandra Van Huffelen, confirmed after the Council of Ministers meeting in a briefing to the Caribbean media that no agreement has been reached on the refinancing yet. Time is running out, as any agreement must also pass through the Dutch Council of Ministers, as well as the House of Representatives and the Senate. 

Without an agreement, the refinancing will proceed but at a market interest rate, which could reach up to 8% given the countries’ limited creditworthiness. With an agreement, the interest rate applicable to creditworthy Netherlands, ranging from 2% to 3%, will be applied. The CAS countries currently have a total of 2.1 billion guilders in outstanding corona loans. Van Huffelen emphasized that the fall of the Rutte IV government does not affect her mandate to strike a deal with the countries. 

In response to journalists’ questions, the state secretary made no secret of her desire to return to the position of State Secretary for Kingdom Relations in the next government. She expressed the expectation that a new cabinet would only take office in April/May. The Cabinet determined last Friday that the next parliamentary elections will be held on November 22nd. 

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