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Dutch elections: Bye bye Europe see you in 4 years time... Dutch elections: Bye bye Europe see you in 4 years time...
by Newropeans-Magazine
2010-06-14 07:24:36
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It was a chaotic election night yesterday (June 9th 2010) in the Netherlands in which the two largest parties VVD (Liberals) and PvdA (Labor) ended up almost equal in size. In the end the Liberals won with 31 seats (Labor 30). From the 150 seats in parliament 24 will go to the absolute winner Geert Wilders from the PVV (had previous 9 seats). The biggest loser is the CDA from our former prime minister Balkenende. His party went from over 40 seats to 21 seats. Balkenende resigned as a party leader yesterday evening. Left-wing liberal D66 moved up from 3 to 10 seats. The green party GroenLinks grew from 7 to 10. The Socialist Party lost 10 of its 25 seats. The Party for Animals retaineNewropeans-Magazined two seats. Turnout was low, at 74 percent.The results of the Dutch electorate show a very fractured image. A strong coalition will be difficult to build.

During the election campaign it seemed like Europe was dead. Whereas in other European countries, European policy of the various parties has become an important topic during the national elections, the subject in the Netherlands is left almost entirely outside the political debate. This is really a bad thing. There are three reasons why Europe should have been a part of the electoral campaign. First of all the voters have the right to know what the parties will promote or bring to a halt in the European political arena. Otherwise there is no transparency to start with. Secondly there is a big need for a reality check. Are the election promises realistic in the international and European context? And third, European democracy needs to be strengthened. And we all know that these initiatives can only come from the member states.

European ideas

The right wing victory is bad news for The Netherlands in Europe. The PVV is known for its anti-Islam point of view, but let me tell you some of his ideas on Europe which did not enter the debates. According to the PVV the Dutch government should take all power back from Brussels and denounce all the veto’s. According to them the EU is responsible for the disappearance of Dutch identity. European Parliament should be abolished. No more influence of the EU on immigration, agriculture, defence and other areas that are not essentially of economical dimension. Workers from Poland, Romania and Bulgaria are not welcome. With the PVV the Dutch will stop investing in european cooperation.

Reality check

The chapter of the PVV-programme on immigration was analysed by experts. Quite a few of its proposals are impossible to realise within the framework of international and European agreements. I have to say that the PVV was not the only party with election promises that just ignored European treaties. It is essential that an independent agency takes a critical look at all political programmes from this point of view. In Holland the financial effects of electoral programmes are always analysed. These conclusions are very highly valued and often reason for changes in the programmes. The PVV will never be able to deliver the promises that were at the heart of its campaign. When election promises are false, democracy has lost.

Democracy


By walking away from Europe the PVV and other Dutch parties are far away from were the discussions really matter. Do not expect any proposals for change from our side in the coming years. Bureaucrats and lobbyists will stay in power. Good for them. In the PVV’s view strengthening European democracy is the wrong approach. The little democracy we have in Europe should be abolished immediately.

How can we improve cooperation and solve the crisis without political leaders who understand the true value of Europe? The Dutch leaders are so afraid of taking position in this discussion that they stick to a children’s version of liking or disliking Europe. They have no ideas what the citizens want from Europe because they never talk about it.

By refusing to discuss their views on Europe they do not build any common ground. The absence of the debate is felt in all fields of society. In education for example were there is no check on whether our system prepares our children to work in a European context. Or in our innovation policy that does not develop well because of a lack of European cooperation.

The economical and financial crisis is far from over. In the coming years the Dutch politicians will have to cooperate on the European level. If they like it or not. There is no way out. And it is really a shame that these parties do not prepare themselves or their citizens for it. It will be interesting to see how the PVV will cope with reality.

************************************************************************************

Veronique Swinkels
Vice President Newropeans
Amsterdam


    
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Emanuel Paparella2010-06-14 15:41:53
Is what is described above the other side of the Newropean Janus-face? And to think that it is occurring in what is widely considered the most liberal society in the EU! Food for thought here.


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