Thursday, September 13, 2012

The EU is easily pleased

The things that please the EU are numerous: decisions to buy up worthless bonds, complicated pronouncements by the German Constitutional Court and, now, the somewhat doubtful (from their point of view) result in the Dutch election.

Whoppee, whooppee, they are saying: the pro-EU parties have triumphed.
The outcome of elections in the Netherlands was greeted with relief elsewhere in Europe as an unexpected vote of confidence in the EU, with voters shunning eurosceptic candidates on the far right and far left and turning towards mainstream parties that have backed eurozone rescue measures.
Rather than punishing Mark Rutte, the Liberal party prime minister, for approving bailout packages for Greece and Spain, the Dutch re-elected him and awarded his conservative party with its largest-ever share of the vote.
The centre-left Labour party did almost as well, after a summer in which leftwing voters appeared to have rejected it for the eurosceptic Socialists.
Meanwhile, the anti-European campaign run by far-right populist Geert Wilders and his Party for Freedom (PVV) was a failure, as his vote share dropped to 10 per cent from 16 per cent in 2010.
Brussels must be so happy, someone commented without, apparently, any irony. But not everything in the garden is rosy.

It seems that, in order to get the vote, the two top parties borrowed more of their "more extreme" rivals' ideas. Specifically, the Liberals campaigned on a far more eurosceptic platform than they have ever done and it will be difficult to row back from that.

The problem of how those two parties, now further apart than ever before, might manage to form a coalition remains. I predict some fun and games in the weeks to come.

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