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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Has the Dutch VVD moved further than the Tories on EU reform and return of EU powers?

In the Dutch Parliament earlier, the VVD (the party of the Dutch PM) EU spokesman Mark Verheijen said he thought EU treaty change was “inevitable” and what is more
"when we want less Brussels in several domains, return whole policy areas, then we should not shy away from the option of treaty change."
This is interesting for three reasons:

First, though stressing the need for the EU to do less, until now, the VVD hasn't really been calling for the return of 'EU powers' - this statement is a challenge to the current division of labour between member states and Brussels.

Secondly,  Dutch politicians - including those from the VVD - have been keen to point out they're not seeking EU treaty change, but want to roll back Brussels' interference within the existing structure.

Finally, together with the recent Dutch "subsidiarity review" - that called time on 'ever closer union' in all policy areas -  the VVD Party has moved into areas that David Cameron has so far not dared not go - explicitly looking forward to and advocating treaty change and outlining concrete areas where the EU shouldn't be involved.

Intriguingly, however, later in the same debate Prime Minister Mark Rutte stepped in to cool it all down a bit. Well, he explained, the Dutch government is not actually proactively in favour of EU treaty change "unless it has already become inevitable". In this scenario he would forward his own ideas but he would not take the initiative.

It's almost as if Europe is waiting for someone to take the initiative...


Rik said...

Rutte is yesterday's news.
If they go into an election with him the party will be completely butchered.
Furthermore Rutte's cabinet probably has <50% chance to make it through say the next 6-9 months. His cabinet has no overall majority and the rest of the parties is hardly cooperating. No big decisions can be made. They are basically Italian now. The only thing that keeps it in place is the fact that both government parties plus their leaders would be butchered in an election.

Former VVD votes are going mainly to Wilders so copying his policies will simply be necessary to get more than half the seats the VVD has now in a next election.
So expect MPs opinions in this case much more relevant than those of Rutte.

Main problem they donot seem to have a proper replacement for Rutte in place.

Rather similar with Dutch Labour they are losing especially to the Socialists which are also rather Euro-sceptic. Leader as well yesterday's news and no real replacement insight.

Will be nearly impossible to form a majority cabinet without Euro-sceptics. Obo the polls now may be a 50-50 chance providing that all traditional parties (incl VVD) work together (of which (the latter) is very unlikely).

Will most likely be a large move to the Eurosceptic camp in a most likely again not too far away next election.
Post-Rutte VVD plus populists (all 384 parties) and traditional Christians (very Euro-sceptic) probably around 65% pro treaty change. Seems like Dave might get a fanatical ally. Very likely at least.

As said forget Rutte, seems a nice guy only completely incompetent in a crisis like this and now found out.
His cabinet is running on its last legs as well.
A white Obama (only with 20-30 points less IQ, but not less incompetent). Both survived 5 year solely on a feelgood factor, so much for voter intelligence.

Rollo said...

The Tories have not moved an inch. Their position has always been 'we will renegotiate from a position of strength'. It has always been a sham; there is no forum for renegotiation. The Acquis Communautaire sees to that. What there will be is some pointless discussion and Cameron will fly back from Munich waving a bit of paper claiming 'peace in our time'; and the relentless cancer of the EU will continue to eat in to our body. The only cure is OUT.

Denis Cooper said...

The Netherlands is a smallish country and its leaders will always feel pressure to follow the Germans.

Rutte previously talked about the desirability of treaty change of a decentralising nature, notably including treaty changes to allow a country to leave the euro while staying in the EU - he got no public support from Cameron on that - and then the next thing we heard he was backing away from the idea; why was that?

It wouldn't be a great stretch of the imagination to suspect that Merkel privately made it very clear to him that she only wanted treaty changes for further integration, not the reverse.

After all, what she said during the German election campaign about the EU giving something back to the member states came with the caveat that it should not involve treaty change.

In other words, she is talking about worthless sops to pull the wool over the eyes of the voters across the EU, and particularly of course in Britain.

Anonymous said...

I think Denis Cooper is right, and we will also see Angela Merkel resort to type after she has been re-elected in whatever coalition.

Just before the election campaign, she committed to a federal Europe and moves towards a European tax system with President Hollande.

As for the Dutch, 'subsidiarity' is a complete EU con-trick - Patrick Minford's website has a great expose - http://www.euro-know.org/europages/dictionary/s.html#Subsidiarity

The Bruges Group have correctly quoted former Europe Minister Keith Vaz that "subsidiarity is not about the repatriation of powers".

Anonymous said...

The question the article purports to address is a nonsensical one: neither the Dutch, not the Brits have the power or mechanism available to them to change a single thing about the EUSSR.

Although, that doesn't really matter, since changing the EUSSR is just a code for keeping it the same -- and making it even worse -- while pretending that changes have been made.

The Dutch and the UK governments are cut from the same EUSSR Eurofascist cloth, and they will NEVER do ANYTHING to seek to seriously undermine their globalizing masters in the EUSSR.