Saturday

19th Aug 2017

EU relieved by Dutch centre-right win

  • Rutte's win is warmly welcomed in Europe (Photo: The Council of the European Union)

EU leaders congratulated Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte and voters for striking a blow against nationalism and populism at the ballot box on Wednesday (15 March).

Rutte himself set the tone by declaring after the exit polls projected his win that after Brexit and after Donald Trump's election as US president the Dutch result was a rejection of "the wrong kind of populism".

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

He did not comment on what the right kind of populism might be.

European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker called Rutte on Wednesday night and also praised the "vote against extremists”, after the far-right and eurosceptic party of Geert Wilders came in second according to early projections.

Italy's premier Paolo Gentiloni said on Twitter: "No #Nexit. The anti-EU right wing has lost an election in the Netherlands. Let's commit together to change and revive the Union!”.

Nexit refers to the Netherland's possible exit from the EU.

Luxembourg PM Xavier Bettel also said on Twitter that "populism didn't pay off”.

France's president Francois Hollande said: “I warmly congratulate @markrutte for his clear victory against extremism.”

Emmanuel Macron, a French centrist politician who is running against the far-right leader Marine Le Pen in April’s presidential election, said: "The Netherlands shows us that the breakthrough of the far-right is not inevitable and that European progressives are growing in strength."

Pierre Moscovici, France's EU commissioner, noted that "the Netherlands is showing the way to a European beginning and democratic awakening".

Rutte himself used a soccer analogy for European politics.

He called the Dutch elections the quarterfinals in the EU’s fight against nationalism. He said the French elections would be the semifinals, ahead of the final in German elections in September.

Germany chancellor Angela Merkel's response to his win was characteristically subdued.

"I look forward to further good cooperation as friends, neighbours, Europeans,” Merkel told Rutte by phone according to her spokesman.

Le Pen, as well as British anti-EU politician Nigel Farage, who are normally quick to speak on Twitter, have kept quiet for now.

Meanwhile, Rutte himself took an increasingly tough line on immigration in his campaign to try to beat Wilders.

Turkey also weighed in on Thursday, with its foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, saying there is no difference between Dutch liberals and "fascist" Wilders.

Turkey and the Netherlands has been entrenched in a diplomatic row after the Netherlands did not allow Turkish ministers to hold referendum campaign rallies in Rotterdam. Turkey has called the Netherlands a Nazi country, while Rutte's handling of the issue apparently helped him in the polls.

Opinion

How to stop the collapse of the Dutch left

Despite the sighs of relief that Geert Wilders did not win the Dutch election, there has been a worrying fragmentation and defeat of the left in the Netherlands.

Focus

Political games behind Germany's gay marriage vote

Gay marriage was adopted in a snap vote at the German parliament on Friday. But lesbians and gays acquired this right after German chancellor Angela Merkel tried to sabotage the electoral campaigns of her opponents.

News in Brief

  1. Macedonia sacks top prosecutor over wiretap scandal
  2. ECB concerned stronger euro could derail economic recovery
  3. Mixed Irish reactions to post-Brexit border proposal
  4. European Union returns to 2 percent growth
  5. Russian power most feared in Europe
  6. Ireland continues to refuse €13 billion in back taxes from Apple
  7. UK unemployment lowest since 1975
  8. Europe facing 'explosive cocktail' in its backyard, report warns

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceDoes Genetics Explain Why So Few of Us Have an Ideal Cardiovascular Health?
  2. EU2017EEFuture-Themed Digital Painting Competition Welcomes Artists - Deadline 31 Aug
  3. ACCABusinesses Must Grip Ethics and Trust in the Digital Age
  4. European Jewish CongressEJC Welcomes European Court of Justice's Decision to Keep Hamas on Terror List
  5. UNICEFReport: Children on the Move From Africa Do Not First Aim to Go to Europe
  6. Centre Maurits CoppietersWe Need Democratic and Transparent Free Trade Agreements Says MEP Jordi Solé
  7. Counter BalanceOut for Summer, Ep. 2: EIB Promoting Development in Egypt - At What Cost?
  8. EU2017EELocal Leaders Push for Local and Regional Targets to Address Climate Change
  9. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceMore Women Than Men Have Died From Heart Disease in Past 30 Years
  10. European Jewish CongressJean-Marie Le Pen Faces Trial for Oven Comments About Jewish Singer
  11. ACCAAnnounces Belt & Road Research at Shanghai Conference
  12. ECPAFood Waste in the Field Can Double Without Crop Protection. #WithOrWithout #Pesticides