European

After being soundly berated for being a bad European, the Netherlands seems to have been determined to use the 50th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome to get its new message across.


The cabinet is on the offensive: there must be no new constitution (there is even a touch of pride in the Dutch ‘no’ vote, which ‘shook Europe awake’); Brussels must keep its paws off cherished Dutch institutions; and the European Union should modernise to keep up with the times.
Indeed, the new cabinet and parliament have said more about Europe in a few short weeks than the old one did in years. Ahead of German efforts to revitalise the constitution talks, the Netherlands needs to make up for lost time.
Yet, while it is all very well to harp on about making Europe more relevant to the ordinary Dutch voter, what about the non-Dutch Europeans who happen to live here?
They still have no say in how their taxes are spent. They are still being told by officialdom that they need a residency permit when they don’t. They still have to swap their driving licences for nice expensive Dutch ones. And they still face smaller pensions because of the Dutch 50-years residency rule (the toughest in Europe).
Forget the two passport debate. A single European passport is what we need!

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