With the Dutch now deciding their new government in general elections, there were few clues during campaigning as to what position any new coalition might take on the new EU constitution after last year’s Dutch “No” vote. Dutch MEP, Camiel Eurlings, says The Netherlands does have a role to play in future negotiations on the European constitution.
“I think The Netherlands has to participate, no matter what. We said ‘no’ and now we must say what do we want next, how do we want to go on. The importance of a clear victory of Jan-Peter Balkenende would be that this prime minister was not only a fierce “yes” campaigner but he also convinced his voters – the Christian-Democrat voters in The Netherlands – to vote overwhelmingly ‘Yes’ in the last referendum.”
Immigration is another key issue which figured less than expected during the campaign. Farhad Golyardi, an Iranian-born sociologist and editor-in-chief of the magazine Eutopia, says that is because the issue is common to several parts of the EU. “Issues such as immigration and Islam and diversity is not just a problem for The Netherlands. It’s a problem for a part of Europe, right now: Belgium, Germany, France, in the cities. And they know they can not solve the immigration without European ideas.”