Caribbean, European Netherlands Close In on Bailout Deal

The islands — two north of Venezuela, one east of Puerto Rico — are on the brink of financial ruin. Without tourists, their economies have shrunk 20 percent. One in five families rely on food aid. Aruba and Curaçao cut salaries in the public sector by 12.5 percent and required a 20-percent contribution from firms to wage subsidies in order to qualify for a previous round of financial support, but it hasn’t been enough. For another cash injection, the Dutch are demanding that the islands cut red tape, liberalize labor laws and reduce the cost of doing business. The goal, Knops said, is to make their economies more resilient in the long term…