Everybody in Europe can remember that one particular happening last year: the rejection of the European Constitution by the French and the Dutch. The Dutch government was flabbergasted. This couldn’t been happening: A great European victory, the beginning of a new era, flushed down the toilet in less than a week and Allmighty Europe left behind a disaster.
Insane situation, isn’t it?
The Dutch government was freaked out. Apparently they had missed something: they wanted Europe to go a certain direction, just like ‘they’ had planned in Bruxelles. And at once, they encountered a big resistance of the Dutch people, who didn’t understand a thing of wat was going on. The few kilometers from Holland to Bruxelles by train or car changed politically in many lightyears away. By the people, Europe was regarded to be a monster of burocracy, and how could that buroucratic monster be good for the Dutch?
After a few weeks (!) it came clear that the campaign of the Dutch politicians in favor of the European constitution didn’t do any good. The idea of a referendum seemed okay, but the information appeared quiet biased pro-constitution and when people didn’t understand a thing they started talking louder, instead of giving an answer to any question. The result was an en-masse rejection of the European constitution.
What ‘The Hague’ (the political residence of The Netherlands) found out as well was that the view towards Europe differed a lot by the people of The Netherlands, compared to the view towards Europe of ‘The Hague’. Our secretary of state of internal affairs (which is in Holland the minister of internal affair’s right hand) plead for a society-broad discussion about the position and future of Holland in Europe, within a year.
Of course, that plan didn’t work out the way it should. ‘The Hague’ got a little afraid for a mass-rejection of anything that has to do with Europe. So... How do you set up a ‘society-broad discussion’.... without any discussion in particular?
Well, You start an questionary on a silly website and tell NOBODY that it exists. On March 17, the Dutch Government opened a website, nederlandineuropa.nl. This site contains nothing but a questionary, which can be devided in two subjects:
1: Expansion of Europe (especially concerning Turkey, but in a few questions Eastern Europe as well)
2: The economical power of Europe (concerning the power Europe has in making a large economic environment).
Curiously, NONE of the questions regarded European policy in a broad sense. One silly question entered the liberal policy of the European Community slightly (asking wether or not the service-directive was a good thing or not, and asking wether or not Europe should concern itself with local economic issues. Bot most questions regarded Turkey and the EU, by asking wether or not Turkey should enter the EU (yes, no, no opinion); wether or not Turkey should enter the EU and apply certain rules (wich? No answer! Just say yes, no, or no opion); and so on. Clearly double questions that could be asked only once, and that need detailed information that’s not available.
It appeared to me that they asked the road they already knew. They don’t want any discussion about the future of Europe. They want to know what they already know, and they want to be able to say we asked you, didn’t we!. I think it’s clearly a misunderstanding on the side of The Hague. This ain’t going to work.
Asking something new
A discussion about Europe is wise. Nicolai, our Secretary or state (see above about who he is) was right in that. Unfortunate, that good initaitive has been born dead.
What should they ask the Dutch? I think they need to know what we’re afraid of in Big Europe. And wat we want from Europe. Not about Turkey. Turkey isn’t Europe, is it? (At least, I’ve learnt that Europe was a league of nations, not a mediterranean country...).
And ask questions concerning the hands of Europe. Wether or not Europe should touch our internal Economic affairs? liberalisation in Holland didn’t work out good for public transport, but they had to. It didn’t work out for farmers, for our sugar industry.
Liberalism is not that popular in Holland, especially not in the lower part of it. In fact, Regarding Holland, I think Liberalism is dead. I’ll come back on that subject later on in another post. But what I want to mention here is that if you want to do a questionary instead of a discussion (what is a stupid idea, in my opinion), you need to ask questions in a way it replaces the discussion.
Now it’s more like ‘The Hague’ has chosen between the discussion about what to eat tonight, and a questionary about wether or not you like bananas. I’m curious what the reactions to this questionary will be. I