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Mark Rutte: North's quiet rebel | Politico - June 8, 2018 |

The Dutch prime minister leads the backlash against pragmatic, prudent anti-populists. ⁉️ [ridiculous .. Rutte is the most effective leading opportunist in politics and populism - no political view for Dutch society]

Angela Merkel may have closed the coffin lid on Emmanuel Macron's EU reform plans, but it was Mark Rutte who dug the grave.

Before the chancellor said France (and the rest of the eurozone) could forget any lingering hope that Germany will pursue a great leap forward in eurozone integration, the Dutch prime minister was leading the charge against exactly the same thing.

He's assembled a group of like-minded, smaller EU nations wary of measures that could force them to ask more of their taxpayers. And as one of the EU's elder statesmen, Rutte's at the forefront.

Credited with breaking the populist wave by fending off his far-right challenger Geert Wilders in a national election last spring, Rutte, 51, has since emerged as the most prominent liberal voice on the European Council -- and a top contender to replace Donald Tusk as its president in 2019.

In the shorter term, however, the Dutch leader -- prime minister since 2010 -- needs allies now that the U.K. is heading out the door. With Brexit, the Netherlands is losing a partner it has long relied upon to uphold a free-trade, market-liberal, fiscally strict vision of the EU.

Rutte's solution: To forge links with Ireland, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania -- and push back against the French and the Germans.

Commentators have had great fun coming up with names for the Dutch-led alliance: the Hanseatic League 2.0; the North Sea Alliance; the Gang of Eight; the countries not occupied by the Roman Empire; Mark Rutte and the Seven Dwarves; the beer drinkers (as opposed to the wine drinkers of the south).

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Sun Sep 3rd, 2023 at 08:39:21 AM EST

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