Monday 19 April 2021

Dutch want to stay neutral in US-China conflict, slight rise in trust in EU


Dutch voters expect China to overtake the United States as the number one global superpower in the next decade, but believe their country should steer clear of any conflict.

Around 54% of people in the Netherlands expect China to eclipse the US, according to research by the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) – fewer than in other countries such as Spain (79%) and France (63%).

Some 57% of voters said the Netherlands should remain neutral if there is a conflict between the US and China, while 55% took the same view regarding a dispute between America and Russia.

Trust in the US as a partner has declined, with 60% of respondents saying they believe Europe cannot count on its support. However, only 48% say the EU’s political system works well, a slight increase from 46% a year ago.

Dutch voters see Germany as the most significant partner in the EU, a sentiment shared by voters in France, Spain, Denmark, Portugal and Hungary.

Europe has not featured prominently as an issue in the election campaign, but most parties want to see closer European co-operation in response to the challenges posed by Brexit and the shifting power balance between China and the US.

The pro-European D66 wants a more integrated European structure, with qualified majority voting, more powers for the European parliament and an assessment system to ensure member states abide by the rule of law principles.

The more conservative VVD says Europe should be more involved in pan-national issues such as migration and defence, but is not in favour of a European army or Euro-taxes.

Only Geert Wilders’s anti-immigration PVV and Forum voor Democratie are in favour of a Nexit, while the Socialist Party (SP) and Animal Rights Party (PvdD) want to scrap the euro.

The pan-European party Volt is also projected to win as many as three seats on Wednesday.

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