Friday

24th Mar 2017

Focus

Almost half of Dutch want to limit EU powers

Barry Madlener of the far-right party, PVV, yesterday asked his colleagues in the Dutch parliament: "Do you want more or less European Union?"

The answer was an awkward silence.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • Dutch PM Rutte (l) acknowledges that EU reforms are necessary (Photo: spitsnieuws.nl)

The phrasing Madlener used was loaded because his leader, Geert Wilders, recently asked a crowd in the Hague if they wanted "more or fewer Moroccans" in their city and in the Netherlands.

The crowd's chanting of "Fewer! Fewer!" and Wilders' reply – "We'll take care of that" – have been widely criticised.

Madlener posed his question, which he said was not meant as a joke, during an annual day-long debate in national parliament on the state of the European Union. He was an MEP prior to becoming a member of the national parliament in 2012.

Madlener then proceeded to answer his own question.

"This house chooses more Europe, while most people in the country are done with Europe," he claimed. In his hands was a copy of yesterday's newspaper, De Volkskrant, which carried the poll showing that a majority want to curb European cooperation.

Of those polled, 21 percent wanted the Netherlands to leave the EU, while 47 percent wanted to curb EU powers.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte acknowledged that EU reforms are necessary, but pointed out that the poll results can also be viewed positively.

"Eighty percent want the Netherlands to remain a member of the European Union," he said.

Members of the Dutch parliament debated this year's 'State of the European Union', an annual government document with a vision of European cooperation.

This is the third edition and it was published in February.

In it, the Dutch government write that EU cooperation has "shortcomings" which need to be addressed, but that European cooperation is "essential" for the Netherlands.

"Our country would be worse off outside of the EU," it says.

Dutch euroscepticism moves mainstream

Dutch voters critical of the European Union will have an array of parties to choose from when they go to the polls in next month's EU elections.

EUobserved

When two worlds collide

Two worlds collided at the end of last week. The shrill, uncompromising one of British politics and the technocratic, dry, world of the European Commission.

EUobserved

Schadenfreude and fire-walking in the EP

There was outright glee in the EP on Thursday. It was time to dust off everyone’s favourite German word for pleasure in the misfortune of others.

EU parliament approves Juncker commission

MEPs have approved Juncker's new EU commission, with a slightly smaller majority than in 2010, and following a number of concessions on portfolios.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Gaming & Betting Association60 Years Rome Treaty – 60 Years Building an Internal Market
  2. Malta EU 2017New EU Rules to Prevent Terrorism and Give More Rights to Victims Approved
  3. European Jewish Congress"Extremists Still Have Ability and Motivation to Murder in Europe" Says EJC President
  4. European Gaming & Betting AssociationAudiovisual Media Services Directive to Exclude Minors from Gambling Ads
  5. ILGA-EuropeTime for a Reality Check on International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
  6. UNICEFHuman Cost to Refugee and Migrant Children Mounts Up One Year After EU-Turkey Deal
  7. Malta EU 2017Council Adopts New Rules to Improve Safety of Medical Devices
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Energy Research: How to Reach 100 Percent Renewable Energy
  9. Party of European SocialistsWe Must Renew Europe for All Europeans
  10. MEP Tomáš ZdechovskýThe European Commission Has Failed in Its Fight Against Food Waste
  11. ILGA-EuropeEP Recognises Discrimination Faced by Trans & Intersex People
  12. Nordic Council of Ministers25 Nordic Bioeconomy Cases for Sustainable Change