Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Display:
It's a little clear whee you stand in all this...though, if I get your drift...you like Jan Peter. So what does Jan Peter have to do, if he were to stay in pwer. And didn't he get badly beaten when the EU constitution was a nee?

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Mon Nov 21st, 2005 at 02:01:10 PM EST
.
See link in my diary on EU referendum Major defeat for PM Balkenende and an analysis.

I'm probably an advocate of real politik, more centrist in Dutch political spectrum.  In U.S. this would be equivalent to the left wing of the Democratic party. The cabinet to run government in The Netherlands will always be formed by a coalition of parties. When party dogmas are involved it will be hard to govern, see the seventies under PM Joop den Uijl - dutch. Most likely he became PM a decade too late, as his party PvdA and the Labor Unions NVV-NKV-CNV did not adjust to changing economic conditions and spend money ill mannered. Under PM Den Uijl the WAO disability coverage was used to dump employees who lost their job and above 55 years of age were difficult to be re-employed.

Some points of concern to all parties --

  • Solidarity in Dutch society and good coverage of Medical Insurance, Disability Support and Basic Pension for all.
  • Need to make cost savings in running goverment - national, provincial and in local city administrations.
  • Need to downsize government into an efficient organization, cut all red tape and many formal regulations should be scrapped no one can oversee.
  • Re-organize the provinces to eliminate historic boundaries into new settings according to 21th century economic entities with supporting logistics of roads, expressways and public transportation.
  • Keep important public utilities in semi-government hands: electricity, gas and water distribution. Public transportation should deliver high standard to keep individuals out of their cars for easy short-distance travel near metropoles.
  • De-centralize city government into administrations by smaller districts of 75-100k residents. See my diary U.S. embassy moves.
  • Eliminate members in parliament from 150 down to 100 seats and increase their income by 50%. Prefer quality above quantity.
  • Government should not run up expenses and national debt like Wim Kok under Paars II at the end of economic growth cycle.
  • Adjust pension to an age that commensurates with type of labor. Heavy manual labor or combination of physical and mental strain in job could choose pension at lower age than 65, others willing to be employed at an later age than 65 should receive some benefit. Choice is to the individual, not dogmatic, but make it flexible to one's possibilities.
  • Immigration and Asylum Policy should be completely reviewed and renewed within European Union.

CPB Macro Economic Outlook

In the end before next election 2007, the Dutch economy and employment will be an indicator how the votes will be cast. Dutch media is biased toward the parties on the Left, some exceptions are national daily newspaper De Telegraaf and weekly Elseviers Magazine, which clearly support the right-wing party VVD.

"Treason doth never prosper: what's the reason?
For if it prosper, none dare call it treason."

▼ ▼ ▼ MY DIARY

by Oui on Mon Nov 21st, 2005 at 06:22:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
These might be your points of concern, but those are not the priorities of the parties. Almost all parties disagree about these points, in fact. (And I have heard nothing about some of these points- such as the 4th, 6th and 7th point)
by koenzel (koen@vanschie.net) on Mon Nov 21st, 2005 at 06:40:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I wouldn't describe VVD as right-wing, to be fair. Currently, CDA is in several issues more right-wing than the VVD is.
by Nomad on Mon Nov 21st, 2005 at 06:44:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Depending on whether the economy or social outlook is your standard, I guess.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Nov 21st, 2005 at 07:06:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
.
You'll see the VVD moving toward the right to attract many voters who did vote for Pim Fortuyn or will stay at home again and not vote. The position of the LPF in 2002, the same where Geert Wilders and Hirsi Ali are positioning, is an electorate with a potential of 25 seats in Parliament.

Traditionally, the Christian Democrats CDA will stay in the center and it's easier to gain votes on the left wing of the party, former ARP and some KVP, who would otherwise transgress to Labor of Wouter Bos (PvdA).

The difference for next election could be the first voters, the young people who don't vote according to tradition and have an idealistic view of society. Much will depend on the state of the national economy, unemployment rate and ability for consumer spending.

Just this evening I understand Minister Zalm has a small extra of €3bn in receivables. Once the economy shows strength and growth above 2.5 %, daily life will be easier for all consumers. Dutch economy is highly dependent on export, especially with Germany, and therefore the Christain Democratic alliance with Chancellor Angela Merkel will benefit both countries.

For a similar economic recovery see the years of Ruud Lubbers in the eighties. Lubbers was very young and still inexperienced as a politician, but today for the CDA voters he is the best post-war Dutch Prime Minister.

"Treason doth never prosper: what's the reason?
For if it prosper, none dare call it treason."

▼ ▼ ▼ MY DIARY

by Oui on Mon Nov 21st, 2005 at 08:01:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... we could speculate that we currently have a right-wing government with D66 as appendix. Yikes.

It's not true, I think. First of all, if you entitle VVD as right-wing, either socially or economically, you haven't seen Dutch right-wing yet. How else could we describe the curiosity Geert Wilders? Or several prominent members of LPF? Ultra-right wing? I think that's not even true. There are people around with even more extreme, fascist aspects, but they don't form a party today. Mega-ultra right wing??

It's not easy today to pigeon-hole parties in the Netherlands. Even Labour and Green have moved at a numer of issues to the "right" as the historic social model was considered to have too many flaws.

by Nomad on Tue Nov 22nd, 2005 at 06:09:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I just don't think reform is necessary something rightish.

Plus, Wilders ís pretty much as right as you can find them. Lower taxes, more roads, no turkey, tougher penalties, higher road limits- it is to the right of 'the' VVD, that's why he quit. But the VVD is not a right-right party, but centre-right nevertheless.

by koenzel (koen@vanschie.net) on Tue Nov 22nd, 2005 at 06:32:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
...sounds the "right" definition for the VVD, I agree there.

And that's what I more or less implied: VVD isn't right-wing, Wilders is, and largely the LPF is too.

I never said reform is rightish, there's actually a reason why conservative (anti-reform) parties are generally right-oriented. But that's not the point. I'm arguing that the solutions Labour and Green propose for certain problems have been cherry-picked from political programs generally proclaimed by CDA and VVD.

by Nomad on Tue Nov 22nd, 2005 at 08:33:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Interesting, I never thought to use "right-wing" as a gradation - e.g. I use centre-right -- hard right -- far/extreme right as gradations, right, rightish or right-wing as overall term.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Nov 22nd, 2005 at 08:43:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe i should, too, to avoid confusion :)
by koenzel (koen@vanschie.net) on Tue Nov 22nd, 2005 at 10:34:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hence the confusion. I understand now. Perhaps it's just my mistake, but on the American blogs, right-wing is used generally to describe the far-right of the Republican Party. I think I better stick to your definition, though. Of course, this doesn't help to solve the relativity within the terminology: what is far-right in one country is considered only centre-right in others...
by Nomad on Tue Nov 22nd, 2005 at 10:59:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hihi :)

I think only Geert Wilders would find himself at home in the Republican party, the rest of the parties would call themselve Democrats in the US.

by koenzel (koen@vanschie.net) on Tue Nov 22nd, 2005 at 11:24:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Which is why the fact that someone is a Democrat is no cause for comfort.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Nov 22nd, 2005 at 11:39:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd imagine the SGP would fit in there as well :-) Not the ChristenUnie, though, they're far too socially-minded.
by Frank (wijsneus-aht-gmail-doht-com) on Wed Nov 23rd, 2005 at 04:07:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Spot on. If Pat Robertson and the sorts would create their own party, he could practically copy the SGP's political agenda point for point.
by Nomad on Wed Nov 23rd, 2005 at 05:52:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The SGP is only very conservative on social issues. But they do care about the enviroment and people, as god's children have received dominion over the earth and have to care for it.

But you're right, I forgot the SGP.

by koenzel (koen@vanschie.net) on Wed Nov 23rd, 2005 at 05:55:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am not sure either that my usage is the correct one - it may only come from erroneous equation with a similar term in Hungarian. But maybe on US blogs, "right-winger" can be such a curse-word due to the general dualist polarization of politics - even in the case of centrists: for them, "leftist" and "right-winger" are two 'extremes' equally bad, there is no PFL-VVD-Christ Democrats-D66-Labour-Greens-Socialists spectrum to consider.

(Hallo hello Americans lurking out there: can you resolve this issue for us? :-) )

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Nov 22nd, 2005 at 01:58:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the VVD is a strange party, it's a liberal(as in free market- lower taxes)/conservative party. I'd describe that as right.

The Christian-Democrats show a tendency to turn into a conservative party, but they're not quite there. They also have a base which is left-moderate (the core of it, at least) and which is not happy with the way things are going. So i'd describe the CDA as moderate/centre-right. But not really a right-wing party. Yet.

by koenzel (koen@vanschie.net) on Mon Nov 21st, 2005 at 07:09:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think I'd appreciate Jan Peter a whole lot better as a person, than as a prime-minister. He's not a very visible leader and to my opinion, the Dutch, caught in all the turmoil, are dying for one. Currently there's no figure-head. And let's not even begin on the coward position this cabinet has managed to wrench itself into regarding the Iraq debacle...

Oui, I love your insights, but I have to agree with whataboutbob on this one: I had expected a more thorough analysis for why you profess liking Balkenende. The focus is lacking in this diary, sorry for saying so.

by Nomad on Mon Nov 21st, 2005 at 05:19:59 PM EST
.
In spectrum of Dutch politics the VVD is clearly to the right of the CDA Christian Democrats and have been positioned there historically. Liberal parties in Europe.

I agree with you it's relative to the Dutch national politics and viewed in the factions of the European Parliament you'll find strange bedfellows.

PvdA - UK Labor party Tony Blair
CDA - UK Conservatives (David Cameron)
VVD - UK Liberals Charles Kennedy

Dutch EP Elections: Results June 2004

Frits Bolkestein (VVD) and Former EU Commissioner

  «« click on pic for view EU expansion

When you equate party platform and policy, I see Tony Blair more as leader of the Dutch VVD before he would challenge Wouter Bos on issues of the PvdA Socialists.

BBC News - European Election U.K. Result

"Treason doth never prosper: what's the reason?
For if it prosper, none dare call it treason."

▼ ▼ ▼ MY DIARY

by Oui on Mon Nov 21st, 2005 at 07:39:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
koenzel dealt with a lot of what you said, but these guys/gals:

#  Close alliance with EU Commission and Barroso
# EU commissioner Neelie Smit Kroes for post of
#  NATO appointment Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer
# Recent visit of Russian President Putin

these as positive?... Barroso is the worst Commission President on record, Neelie is one of those Commissioners who never should have been appointed, Scheffer heads an organisation beyond its time with too much Atlanticism, and Putin is in Checnya like Bush in Iraq.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Nov 21st, 2005 at 05:35:40 PM EST
.
Is one of the most qualified politicians with an excellent track record in the business community on a national and international level. It's a great post within the EU Commission and friend and foe hailed the strategy followed by PM Jan Peter Balkenende to gain the post for The Netherlands.

  «« click on pic for Forbes bio

A Brighter Commission

"Treason doth never prosper: what's the reason?
For if it prosper, none dare call it treason."

▼ ▼ ▼ MY DIARY

by Oui on Mon Nov 21st, 2005 at 08:37:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
.
ELECTION SUMMARY ::

Year   1998   2002   2003
PvdA     45     23     42
VVD      38     24     28  
CDA      29     43     44

Coalition talks started in February 2003 between Election winner CDA Jan Peter Balkenende and new Labor leader Wouter Bos who made a great recovery for PvdA with 42 seats in parliament. On the agenda was the likelihood of an Iraq War and whether the Dutch should be part of the U.S. and U.K. coalition. As the present administration was not permitted to force a decision due to their post election status, Jan Peter Balkenende needed to have the 2nd largest party PvdA support for Iraq action.

In an unexpected move, the Dutch supported delivery of Patriot missile systems under NATO treaty to partner Turkey to secure their Southern border from Scud attack coming from Iraq in the event of war and Turkey participating. The U.S. needed to move Armed Forces and heavy material out of Germany through Rotterdam harbor for shipment to either Kuweit or Turkey to form a Northern front to attack Iraq through Kurdish area.

Dutch parliament gave the sitting coalition of CDA, VVD and LPF overwhelming vote to give political support but Dutch forces would NOT participate in the Coalition of the Willing. It was only after the new cabinet was installed with CDA-VVD-D'66 that the United Nations request of Kofi Annan and the Security Council to dispatch a Stabilization Force (SFIR) to the British Southern Sector was honored. Wouter Bos and the PvdA voted FOR the participation of Dutch Forces in Iraq.


Wouter Bos flip-flop

The decision for the final extension up to March 2005, Wouter Bos and the PvdA took the Gerhard U-turn for political gain to vote against this extension. A smaller majority was sufficient nevertheless to honor the U.N. commitment. In December 2004 this cabinet took the decision that the troops had done their task - see my comment/diary - and would definitely leave Iraq. At first the British forces took over in Iraqi province of Al-Muthanna, to be relieved by a new deployment of Australian troops who found the job done by the Dutch as excellent. The Dutch would place focus on Afghanistan where the role of NATO would be enlarged.

There is a definite distinction between the FM Jaap de Hoop Scheffer - more Atlantic in support of Iraq War - and new FM Bot who has a more continental EU view on the decision and moment to call for the Iraq invasion. See FM Bot's comment on nomination of John Bolton by President Bush early in 2005.

My diary @dKos ::
Dutch Aid to Iraq leads to Fatwa by Ali Sistani

PM Jan Peter Balkenende and Roosevelt's Four Freedoms at Margraten.

Iraq Coalition Troops
Non-US Forces in Iraq - 16 August 2005

"Treason doth never prosper: what's the reason?
For if it prosper, none dare call it treason."

▼ ▼ ▼ MY DIARY

by Oui on Tue Nov 22nd, 2005 at 09:10:33 AM EST
.
As elder statesman and former FM in cabinet Den Uijl and van Agt -dutch- , has great esteem by all politicians at Binnenhof, Parliament and Senate.

Mr. van der Stoel has done excellent reporting on Human Rights abuse during Greece dictatorship Colonel's Regime and Saddam Hussein's Stalin dictatorship during the nineties. His UN report is exceptional and of influence to consider Dutch participation in the Coalition of the Willing. The Kurd massacre played a role as well. The PvdA was divided after meeting with Max vd Stoel to formulate policy during coalition talks in March 2003.

OSCE - Max van der Stoel Award 2005
Max van der Stoel Raad van State -dutch-
RISQ - Iraq & International Social Questions

"Treason doth never prosper: what's the reason?
For if it prosper, none dare call it treason."

▼ ▼ ▼ MY DIARY

by Oui on Tue Nov 22nd, 2005 at 03:14:35 PM EST
.
The Left parties in the Netherlands were challenged by public opinion after the assassination of upcoming politician Pim Fortuyn on May 6, 2002. The refusal by PvdA Interior Minister to provide Fortuyn with adaquate protection led to much anger by the Dutch voter and ultimate devastating defeat for most Leftist parties.

The murderer of Fortuyn came from a Left Animal Activist group, who have partaken through legal procedures the possibilities to prevent ecological damage to wildlife areas and national parks.

There are a number of groups active in the Netherlands, who have escaped capture, conviction and punishment by Justice for acts of harassment, property damage and arson.

In the months leading upto National Election 2002, there was a lot of media expression and attacks on the person Pim Fortuyn that could be considered character assassination. Much has been left untouched, as no one wants to aggravate the tense social structures within Dutch society.

The hours after Fortuyn's murder, there was fear for populace anger at parliament buildings in The Hague.

It's astounding that as Senator for the Green Party Groen Links Mr. S. Pormes has been asked by party leadership to step down, after an investigation found suspected ties in the seventies to terror groups and training in Yemen. The seventies saw a lot of unrest in Europe with the Baader Meinhoff gang and in the Netherlands Palestinian & Red Army terror and Moluccan acts of despair.

Carlos the Jackal

"Treason doth never prosper: what's the reason?
For if it prosper, none dare call it treason."
 

▼▼▼ READ MY DIARY

by Oui on Wed Nov 23rd, 2005 at 05:16:26 AM EST
Oui why do you link to Carlos the Jackal?

Plus don´t forget that there is some debate over Fortuyn actually wanted protection, he was´n´t too keen on it himself. Plus nobody in their wildest dreams thought he´d get killed. Which doensn´t mean he should´nt have been protected, of course.

by koenzel (koen@vanschie.net) on Wed Nov 23rd, 2005 at 05:59:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
.
New German Chancellor calls for "political" NATO

Twenty-four hours after her appointment, the new Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel and the new Foreign Minister of Germany, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, met with NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer to discuss the main issues on the Alliance's agenda.

Speaking to reporters, Chancellor Merkel said her visit was a sign of the importance Germany attaches to NATO, not only as a military, but also as a political Alliance.

"NATO should be the place where people turn first with member states to discuss political issues of common concern," she said.

Ms Merkel added that unilateral action was possible only after it was clear that all efforts for a joint Alliance approach failed.

"Only in that way can we see to it that NATO continues to be a political Alliance," she stressed.

Among other items, the Chancellor and the Secretary General discussed the NATO Summits planned for 2006 and 2008, and the future of NATO's involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The Secretary General told reporters that he soon hoped to visit Berlin.

This was Ms Merkel's first foreign trip, 24-hours after her appointment as Chancellor. She first visited Paris, then NATO HQ and was due to visit the European Parliament and Commission.

Chancellor Angela Merkel Meets President Jacques Chirac in Paris


France's President Jacques Chirac poses with German
Chancellor Angela Merkel before talks at the Elysee
Palace in Paris, her first foreign visit.
Pool/Patrick Kovarik/Reuters

Bundeskanzlerin

Related reading on center-right Dutch Government
and relationship to NATO Jaap de Hoop Scheffer
I'm A Fan of Jan Peter! (Balkenende)

"Treason doth never prosper: what's the reason?
For if it prosper, none dare call it treason."

▼ ▼ ▼ MY DIARY

by Oui on Thu Nov 24th, 2005 at 06:29:22 AM EST
.
Don't read too much in a particular statement made visiting NATO.

The Grand Coalition agreement will bind Chancellor Merkel to policies of her administration. Merkel has stated in last months, she wants a strong EU with more focus on all countries, not just the alliances with Germany or the U.K. Her position will stregthen the cohesion within the EU, as Schröder, Chirac and Blair tried to push through their major issues without much concern in creating a concensus within the EU.

Much harm was done by neglecting economic reform in Germany and France and having their budget deficit above 3% limit.

Merkel will look for ideological alliances, CDU/CSU is for a strong Atlantic alliance with the U.S., although her stance on Turkey will oppose the position of Blair and Bush. A close economic and ideological ally is the Netherlands, with the Christian Democrats Jan Peter Balkenende leading the cabinet with the VVD right-wing Liberal Conservative party. It wasn't by accident for FM Frank-Walter Steinmeier to make his first visit with colleague Dutch FM Bernhard Bot on Thursday.

BTW, NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer was previously Christian Democrat leader in Dutch parliament and FM during cabinets Balkenende I and II. His tenure as chairman of the OSCE in 2003 was very successful and in fact was a sollicitation for the job of NATO Secretary General.

"Treason doth never prosper: what's the reason?
For if it prosper, none dare call it treason."

▼ ▼ ▼ MY DIARY

by Oui on Fri Nov 25th, 2005 at 03:39:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
.
Dutch Minister Bot Needs Proper Answers from U.S. State Dep't

THE HAGUE Nov. 24 -- When CIA-prisons and detainee abuse in Europe is proven to be true, the Dutch will reconsider their participation in Enduring Freedom by its special forces in Afghanistan.

FM Berhard Bot made this statement in parliament this morning. The State of the Netherlands has formally requested a clarification from the chargé d'affaires of the U.S. Embassy in The Hague earlier this week. A possible use of Schiphol Airport for the spook transport of prisoners by the CIA has been put forward for answers.

The `consequences' FM Bot referred to, is possible suspension of Dutch Special Forces operation under U.S. Command in Afghanistan. Participation of an extension within NATO to the Afghan province of Uruzgan within the ISAF contingent, may also be at stake.

The Dutch right-wing partner in the coalition, VVD Liberal Conservatives, already critized the suggestion by VP Dick Cheney to make an exception for torture by the CIA in Iraq or Afghanistan.

For the new ISAF-mission in Uruzgan, the United Kingdom and Canada have committed forces and Dutch troops are following special training assignments in preparation, and Minister of Defense Kamp has been an advocate for Dutch participation.

Minister Berhard Bot as Foreign Minister has the possibility to veto the committment when the U.S. cannot provide adequate information and when the peace and security mission of the Dutch forces under ISAF interferes with the military operation Enduring Freedom.

The Dutch cabinet has requested written promises of the Afghan government, that prisoners handed over by the Dutch will be treated in accordance with the Geneva Conventions, will not be tortured during interrogation and cannot receive a death sentence.

"Treason doth never prosper: what's the reason?
For if it prosper, none dare call it treason."

▼ ▼ ▼ MY DIARY

by Oui on Thu Nov 24th, 2005 at 04:59:55 PM EST
.
Plane spotters verified a CIA plane landed and parked at Schiphol-East on November 17 with registration number N505LL. The plane is owned by the American Path Corporation, and according to insiders connected to the CIA.

In 2003 the same plane was spotted in Afghanistan in support of the American Special Forcesoperation.

The Dutch Ministry responsible for all traffic by air, road and river has confirmed this plane departed from Turkey on November 16 and arrived at Schiphol, Amsterdam airport the following day. A day later it departed for a flight to Iceland with further "unknown" destination. Any other information as to the purpose of its landing at Amsterdam airport, was not known by the Ministry. The Dutch Foreign Affairs Ministry has never been asked for diplomatic clearance of any flight in Dutch air space.

FM Bernhard Bot made a tough position known to parliament last Thursday, having asked the U.S. State Department for specific information for any flights or activities involving ghost detainees, as was published by the Washington Post recently.

"Treason doth never prosper: what's the reason?
For if it prosper, none dare call it treason."
 

▼▼▼ READ MY DIARY

by Oui on Sat Nov 26th, 2005 at 06:13:39 PM EST

Display:

Top Diaries

Occasional Series