Say no to 'President Balkenende'

27 May 2009

Say no to 'President Balkenende'

Right-wing Dutch premier Jan-Peter Balkenende does not rule out making himself available to become Europe's first president. This was the less-than-exciting news which emerged from an interview on television's KRO-reporter yesterday evening. His statement paved the way for a premature departure from the government, which would be possible if the Irish people change their minds and vote 'yes' to the Lisbon Treaty in a new referendum. As things stand, the office of President of Europe remains on hold.

Dennis de JongDennis de Jong, leading SP candidate for the European Parliament elections on 4th June, is unimpressed: “However pleased we in the SP would be to see the back of Balkenende's premiership, it's completely crazy that he's soliciting a job that doesn't as yet even exist. The rules of the game are clear: every member state has to agree, or the Lisbon Treaty, which would create this office, doesn't go through." De Jong understands well enough, however, why Balkenende might be seen as someone with a good chance of bagging the presidency, should it indeed ever come to pass. “The premier worked loyally with the European elite to pilot through parliament a measure which shows only a couple of minor changes from the European Constitution rejected in June, 2005 by the Dutch people in a referendum. He was successful in preventing a new referendum and in this case in his eyes the labourer is worthy of his hire."

SP Chairman Jan Marijnissen has already pledged the party's active support for the 'No' campaign in Ireland as soon as a new referendum is announced. “With the prospect of Balkenende as first ever 'President of Europe' we'd have one more powerful argument to persuade the Irish people to vote 'no'," says De Jong.

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