Reuniting Europe

The Dutch extreme-right Freedom Party, led by controversial anti-Islamist Geert Wilders, looks set to make large electoral gains at the upcoming general election in the Netherlands. And it could well become part of the next government coalition.

Even the outgoing government of Jan Peter Balkenende was creating enough obstacles for further enlargement. Dutch opposition to unblocking a trade accord with Serbia is just an example. The Hague was not happy with the 2007 enlargement with Bulgaria and Romania either.

But just imagine how positions could become even more radical with Geert Wilders in command? This could even affect Croatia, who has has outstanding problems with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), or Iceland, as talks have collapsed between Reykjavik and the Hague over the repayment of Dutch savers in the bankrupt Icesave.

Wilders could stop enlargement for several years to come. I wander what the consequences could be. One extremism can only breed another.

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  1. As a Dutch citizen with some experience in Dutch politics, I am convinced that Wilders and his “party”, even if they’ll get the number of seats in parliament that opinion polls are predicting at this moment (25 out of 150), will not be in a position to block EU enlargement. In the IceSave affair, the Dutch are just clinging to the British positions, hoping to get no less than the UK out of the coming settlement between the victim countries and Iceland.

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