Dutch centre-right parties sign pact for European superstate

22 January 2017

Dutch centre-right parties sign pact for European superstate

In the runup to the coming elections for the national parliament, the two centre-right parties, the governing VVD and the opposition CDA, are loudly declaring that they are against a European superstate. That’s what makes it remarkable that so little attention has been paid to the pact concluded by their political groups in the European Parliament, respectively the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE), and the European People’s Party (EPP). The pact states that they will work towards amendment of the EU Treaty on the basis of the Verhofstadt Report, which advocates the creation of a European Finance Minister, European taxes, and the extension of the EU’s powers to areas of legislation currently under national control, such as pensions, public services and taxation. What my fellow MEPs Wim van de Camp (CDA) and Hank van Baalen (VVD) are calling for is simply a European government. Think on that when you’re in the polling booth on March 15th.

Foto: SP
ALDE leader Guy Verhofstadt has not had a good week. His own group torpedoed a deal with Italy’s Five Star Movement, because of which Verhofstadt lost any credibility and withdrew his candidature for the presidency of the European Parliament, Instead, he made a deal with the EPP over a pro-EU pact. In exchange for his support for the EPP’s candidate for the presidency, Antonio Tajani, Verhofstadt was allowed to hang on to his position as the EP’s Brexit negotiator, thus cutting his losses.

But Verhofstadt has also set a trap for the EU-critical forces within the ALDE and the EPP. The pact offers the prospect of a federal Europe, with a European defence and security policy, a European intelligence service, a European coast guard and even more stringent economic governance than already exists, with the European Commission being given the right to impose diktats on every aspect of national policy.

Now I can allow anyone their federal dream, although there are dangerous features of such dreams: if you simply keep insisting on going in a direction which ordinary people are increasingly opposing, and you set up a Europe that’s good for no-one but the multinationals, you’re asking for trouble. It’s even more galling when Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, of the VVD, with an eye to the national election campaign, says that we should no longer dream of a federal Europe, or when the CDA says that it would be best if the EU stopped baring its teeth. This is to deceive the voters, which is not only bad for the image of politics in general, but also certainly does nothing to further European cooperation. It’s precisely this kind of duplicity which people so detest. It’s time we heard a bit of honesty from the VVD and the CDA.

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