Brussels earthquake: Wilders' right divides the EPP and the Liberals

If it's not an earthquake, we're close. The culprit is Geert Wilders (pictured), who emerged victorious with his party, the Freedom Party, in the last Dutch elections last November. After months of negotiations, yesterday morning four parties (including the right-wing Preachers Movement) presented a government agreement entitled “Hope, Courage and Pride” to the Presidency of the Tweed Kamer, the lower house of parliament in The Hague.

The content has not yet been announced and will be discussed next week. But the list of parties available to form an executive government with Wilders was enough to cause a sensation and controversy in Brussels. Along with the FV MPs, there will be the liberals from the VVD, the party of former Prime Minister Mark Rutte; and centre-right MPs of the NSC (New Social Contract), and newcomers from the BBB (Peasant Civil Movement). In total, the coalition has 88 votes on paper (37 for Wilders), enough to guarantee a majority in parliament, where there are 120 MPs.

But the disruptive power of the new center-right government stems primarily from one fact: that the agreement divides the political parties represented in the European Parliament. The Peasant Party BBB and Anti-Corruption Party NSC appear ready to sit with the People's Party in the next legislature. The VVD's liberals were part of Renew, a group recognized by French President Emmanuel Macron, who signed a document with the Socialists and Greens rejecting any cooperation with the right. And not only that: the most reliable candidate to lead the new government (Wilders, a member of the country's largest party, resigned from his position in an attempt to reach an agreement) is Ronald Plasterk, a prominent member of the party who was one of the country's most prominent politicians. A member of the party for 46 years, he is a Dutch socialist, the same position as Frans Timmermans, former vice-president responsible for the environment of the Ursula von der Leyen Commission.

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The first result is that the European Greens were quick to demand that the neoliberals throw the Dutch “traitors” overboard. The Socialist Group did almost the same thing, using fiery words against the new coalition that had been formed. The person who did not wish to comment was Timmermans, who sees the presence of a socialist at the head of the new “populist” executive as nothing more than a personal insult. Even that popularity remained silent. The yes answers to Wilders from two parties close to him underscore the growing “tolerance” on the right side of the European political spectrum. This is all the more important because Wilders does not belong to the group of conservatives and reformists (to which von der Leyen seemed to be directing her attention in recent days), but rather to the “extremists” of the Identity and Democracy Party.

Discussion about the new government's program will only lead to new controversy.

According to rumours, it is a program of the “real” right, not the centre, with a curb on environmental issues and a significant tightening in the area of ​​immigration and asylum permits, with an increased possibility of deporting irregulars.


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