Brexit and Fear of Populism Inform Rutte’s Opposition to Macron
Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte is leading the opposition to Emmanuel Macron’s proposals for closer European integration, warning a liberal conference in Amsterdam this weekend that “integration for integration’s sake” will undermine public support for the EU.
“The EU needs to solve problems that we, as individual member states, cannot solve alone,” he said. “A federal Europe is not the answer to those problems and neither is a politics based on symbolism.”
There are two reasons Rutte is skeptical of Macron’s ideas, which range from creating a common eurozone budget to harmonizing tax rates and social security fees: fear of anti-EU populism and Brexit. Read more
Optimist Rutte Asks Dutch to Reject Rival’s Pessimism
International coverage of Mark Rutte’s reelection campaign in the Netherlands has largely emphasized the ways in which he emulates Geert Wilders.
This report from The New York Times is a typical example. It claims the liberal premier has taken a “Trump-like turn” in the face of a “hard-right challenge”, siding with the “silent majority” in his country against non-natives.
It’s a little over the top but not altogether wrong. Rutte’s center-right party has adopted more repressive immigration and integration policies. It has also become more Euroskeptic since Wilders started out a decade ago.
Rutte Cautions Against Populist “Experiment” in Netherlands
Two days before parliamentary elections, Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte has reiterated his opposition to a pact with the nationalist Freedom Party, telling Geert Wilders in person that the two will “never” work together again.
Earlier on Monday, Rutte urged voters not to let the Netherlands become the “third domino” that falls to populism after Britain voted to leave the European Union and America elected Donald Trump.
“This is not the time to experiment,” he told reporters in Rotterdam. Read more
New York Times Gets Rutte’s Aggressive Liberalism Wrong
The New York Times reports that Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte has taken a “Trump-like turn” in the face of a “hard-right challenge”, siding with the “silent majority” in its prejudices against immigrants.
Wilders’ Negativity an Opportunity for Optimist Rutte
Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders may have just dictated the terms on which the Dutch election next year will be fought — and under which his rival, the incumbent prime minister Mark Rutte, is more likely to be prevail.
I wrote earlier this year that echoes of America’s presidential election could be heard in the Netherlands: Wilders shares an under-siege rhetoric and unceremonious style of politics with Donald Trump; Rutte, like Hillary Clinton, celebrates the country the Netherlands is, rather than it used to be, and represents consensus and a respect for political norms.
Those differences were driven home last week, when Wilders was found guilty of inciting discrimination by a panel of three judges for promising “fewer Moroccans” in the city of The Hague. Read more