European diplomats in Brussels and The Hague are monitoring the Dutch political process carefully amid concerns about the rise of euroscepticism on the political fringes, the Financieele Dagblad reports on Wednesday.
In addition there is concern that the formation of a new coalition government is likely to take a long time, the paper says.
‘There is a lot of interest in the election,’ one European diplomat said. ‘Politicans and colleagues want to know what the elections mean in the light of the euro crisis.’
Another diplomat told the paper the national vote is a litmus test. The Dutch position on Europe is always crucial because the country is a founder member and the rise of the eurosceptics shows how established they are becoming.
‘Euroscepticism is growing in other countries,’ the diplomoat said. ‘Is this a trend and how will the established parties react?’
Another diplomat said that Socialist leader Emile Roemer and Geert Wilders will continue to influence policy even if they are not in government.
He referred to the strong language on Europe used by Rutte in televised debates – in particular his refusal to agree to a third rescue package for Greece. ‘This was noticed in our capital,’ the diplomat said.
Samsom may be more moderate than Rutte but he still wants a more relaxed approach to cutting the budget deficit, the paper points out. His focus is on job creation, not austerity measures.
Making it work
BBC correspondent Mathew Price says in an analysis of the Dutch situation the question many are asking now is how the EU benefits them. Indeed even whether it does.
‘This perhaps says as much about the inability of Brussels to sell its purpose to its people, as it does about the lasting power of the nation state and how citizens identify with it,’ he said.
‘Euroscepticism is not the same force in the Netherlands as it is in Britain. For most Dutch questioning Europe, it is about making the EU work for them, not leaving it.’
How should the new government react to euroscepticism? Have your say using the comment box below.
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