At Home in Europe

Tonight, I look (on TV) at the results of the elections for a new Dutch Parliament. I live in Brussels, since 20 years. But, of course, I am still engaged with my country. I voted, as a Dutch national, for a candidate of the Dutch Labour Party (PvdA). I voted for Mr. Timmermans, long-time Minister for European affairs and, as a son of Dutch Limburg, very engaged with the European Union project.

As you may have seen from my contributions at At Home in Europe here, I am a convinced opponent of racial and cultural discrimination. The upsurge of an un-Dutch anti-Islamic party, Mr. Wilders’ PVV, has made that I have engaged into a struggle against Mr. Wilders’ ideas and objectives.

I am half satisfied, tonight. I couldn’t regret more, that, in spite of recent polls, Geert Wilders one-member “party” gets 22 deputies out of 150, winning 13. Wilders’ programme couldn’t be more populist. Hollow promises for maintaining retirement age at 65, maintaining tax profits for home-owners at the cost of immigrants, Europe and 3rd world development.

But Labour under the former Amsterdam mayor Job Cohen won an equal result with the conservatives of the VVD party. That is more than I expected. Labour is a pro-European party, and the conservative VVD, who sends Neelie Kroes to the European Commission, cannot be too anti-European, even if it tries to copy the anti-European positions of Mr. Wilders.

It is not clear, at this moment, if a conservative or a progressive government will be organized. What seems to be sure, is, that Mr. Wilders’ party will not be a part of it. A right-wing government has no majority, even with Mr. Wilders’ deputies. A left-wing government has no majority either. The possible outcome is either a center-right or a center-left government. Both would keep the Dutch engagements with Europe.

Considering the loss of confidence, the PVV had to digest at its incapacity at co-govern larger Dutch cities earlier this year, I expect, that a probable marginalization of Mr. Wilders at the formation of a new government, will have a negative effect on its popularity with the Dutch electorate.

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