Open Europe Blog

They may have the cup…

It’s election campaign season in the Netherlands, with Dutch voters due to choose their next government on 12 September. Caretaker Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s VVD party has come up with a rather original way of planting the eurozone crisis into domestic political debate.

On 29 June, the party published the following campaign poster on its Facebook page:

The two players on the right – Andrea Pirlo of Italy and Xavi Hernández of Spain – need no introduction. However, the slogan on the left is quite interesting, as it says,

They may have the cup, not our creditworthiness.

The picture also had a short description above, saying,

Italy or Spain will become European football champions [as we mentioned, the post is from 29 June, two days before the Euro 2012 final]. Now they also need to become champions in cutting their budgets, because if we get things our way, there will be no arrangement through which they can benefit from our financial discipline while not putting their own things in order. Please like if you agree!

To date, the VVD post has 864 ‘Likes’.

As the elections get closer, tough rhetoric on the eurozone crisis, such as this, is likely to become a feature as Dutch politicians bid to ‘steal’ votes from Geert Wilders’ far-right, notoriously anti-euro (and anti-EU), PVV.

Today, Dutch magazine Elsevier also reported that, at last week’s meeting of the ‘Future of Europe’ group, organised by German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, Dutch Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal warned that it was not the time to discuss any further transfer of national powers to the EU, especially in areas such as pensions, labour market and social security.

In light of what we have seen, for instance, in Finland ahead of the latest presidential elections, the picture above is another example of how further fiscal integration and eurozone bailouts are now at the forefront of election campaigns in the Triple-A countries.

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