Netherlands EU Spirit Stays Strong – Hardliners Rejected in Elections


The Netherlands was one of the six founding states of the European Coal and Steel Community in 1950, the entity that eventually grew into the European Union as we know it today.

After the Brexit upheaval – with many of its roots in repellent racism – it’s encouraging to see that intolerant and anti-EU politicians like Geert Wilders were rejected in the Dutch elections. The original reasons for the EU were to prevent further large-scale wars in Europe by building prosperity and economic ties between nations. That hasn’t changed. But the war in Syria resulted in a flood of migrant refugees and the EU’s decision to intervene in the country with other allies created a backlash. The backlash turned into populist anti-EU movements only too easily exploited by politicians looking to win votes. Even those parties like the Conservatives in the UK turned against their own decision to enter the war in Syria. Disavowal of their own roles and responsibilities towards the refugees is the political u-turn of the day.

The European Commission and Parliament have taken the responsible decisions to manage the Syrian refugee crisis. The situation is more controlled now…unless Turkey decides to push migrants out of the camps they’re sheltering in along the Syrian border. President Erdogan is highly upset at Dutch authorities for banning his foreign minister last week. Cavusoglu was trying to campaign for Erdogan’s ‘Sultan’ referendum but his flight wasn’t authorised to land. The referendum would change the constitution, allowing Erdogan two more terms and almost complete control over the political system. The whole thing is under political duress because human rights are suspended in the state of emergency.

The diplomatic row that followed shows that Turkey and the EU are certainly parting ways. The question now is whether France follow Holland’s example and vote against anti-EU hardliners on April 23rd. A lot depends on Syria. The key to getting the EU spirit back is a peace deal in Syria. The economic and financial crises are in the past, leaving the political and cultural crises to be dealt with.