Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Post-election Dutch may be awkward EU partners

As the latest polls show, the Dutch election is less about Europe as it is about the state of the Dutch economy, the depth and extent of budget cuts to bring the public finances in order, healthcare and social security issues. Hence, Eurosceptic parties have not significantly benefited - in the opinion polls at least - from championing a populist anti-EU message. Most notably, Geert Wilders, the leader of the right-wing populist Party for Freedom has seen support for his party drop significantly compared with the 2010 election. Similarly, the left-wing, Eurosceptic Socialist Party has also seen its support level crumble in recent weeks as it competes with the more moderate, centre-right Labour Party for left-wing voters.

The Economist Intelligence Unit believes that a centrist "grand coalition" that includes the Labour Party, the pro-business Liberals and smaller centrist parties remains the most likely election outcome. Such a coalition would remain broadly in favour of bringing the public finances in order, but the inclusion of the Labour Party may mitigate against cutting the budget as extensively and quickly as the Liberals prefer. Such a coalition's stance on Europe would most likely remain pragmatic, supporting Germany's preference for stronger oversight of fiscal affairs in the highly indebted countries but at the same time standing up for the Netherlands' national interests so as to take the wind out of the Eurosceptic opposition parties' sails.

More on the politics of the Netherlands

Last modified on Thursday, 22 August 2013 15:16
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