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Thursday, June 10, 2010

the future's bright, the future's orange?

The winning party in the Dutch elections, the VVD, has some interesting things to say about the EU on its website. Its leader, Mark Rutte (pictured right) is favourite to become the country's new PM and may prove to be an interesting ally for EU reformers, depending on how much the VVD's rhetoric is watered down by coalition arrangements.

The party's website reads:

The VVD doesn’t want a "European superstate". We want a Europe that functions. Therefore, we don’t need a Constitution, but an EU which limits itself to its core tasks and offers solutions for the 21st century. The solutions of the former century were about agriculture and regional subsidies. In this century it is about climate and energy, asylum and migration flows and fighting terrorism. Therefore we need to go back to what we have: the current Treaties (the Treaty of Nice).

Pretty bold stuff - abolishing the Lisbon Treaty is something the UK's Conservatives wouldn't dream of posting on their website. The party is also committed to reducing the country's contribution to the EU budget, offering a "half price EU", with Rutte recently stating that he sees EU budget negotiations as "the crowbar for reform" and that the "whole system of structural and cohesion funds is largely circulation of money."

He added, "Europe is not a kind of idealistic project. I'm not awake every morning with 27 stars and a European flag over my head. For me, Europe is a pragmatic project that gives us many benefits and should remain so."

Rutte's comments illustrate that the UK media's obsession with portraying David Cameron as an outsider of the EU mainstream are a fallacy. Bar Rutte's opposition to EU expansion, there is a lot that a Conservative-led coalition government could work with here, particularly when it comes to the crucial budget negotiations that will begin in the near future.


Anonymous said...

Interesting they want to abolish the lisbon treaty, considering they voted for the treaty in the first place.

MikeH said...

Who voted for it? The VVD? Certainly not the Dutch people. They said 'No' to the EU Constitution and, like everyone except the Irish (who themselves had to be asked twice), didn't get a vote when it was brought back as the Lisbon Treaty. Seeking to abolish that democratic travesty of a treaty might be impratical, now, but it is the proper outlook democratically.

christhai said...

To anonymous friend. The Dutch like all the countries in Europe except the Irish never got to vote on the Lisbon treaty. Dutch politicians just didn't oppose it enough.

Ian Wright said...

I think EU leaders especially on the right/far right (who seem to be in the ascendancy in many EU countries) need to watch the rhetoric regarding the EU. Obviously, there are many issues facing the EU these days (debt, immigration, democratic deficit, etc.) but the fact remains that Europe is much better and safer place to live today than it has at almost any other point in the last 2000 years.

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