- U.S. social and economic trends on worrisome track, survey finds
- McDonald nomination unanimously referred to full Senate
- Chuck Norris honorary chairman of NRA voter registration campaign
- GOP outraged Obamacare investigators able to get coverage with fake IDs
- Family removed from Southwest flight over tweet about rude agent, dad says
- Michael Bloomberg thumbs FAA ban, plots course to Israel
- California bans full-contact football practices in off-season
- Thune: Downed fighter jets show more evidence of separatist capabilities
- Obama tells DNC fundraising crowd: ‘I’m not overly partisan’
- Chambliss: Downed jet ultimately goes back to Putin
Dutch vote will test EU’s popularity in tough economic times
Question of the Day
It was one of six nations that forged fledgling European unity from the ashes of World War II, and was a force behind the treaty that created the euro currency.
Yet, along with France, it also put itself at the vanguard of the euro-skeptic tide by rejecting a proposed European constitution in a referendum.
The answer could be an indication of the very direction of Europe.
“Every Dutch election has been at the forefront of what is the mood everywhere in Europe,” says political analyst Piotr Maciej Kaczynski of the Center for European Policy studies.
In 2005, Dutch voters deepened a major continental crisis by rejecting a historic EU constitution just three days after the French gave their historic “Non” — effectively killing the charter.
In the upcoming elections, the Dutch are pondering even greater existential questions for Europe — whether to stick with the union and its currency or try to fix both from the inside.
Not surprisingly, the most extreme view — ditch the European Union — comes from firebrand populist Geert Wilders, who first rose to prominence with strident anti-Islam rhetoric that resonated across Europe.
At the other end of the spectrum is outgoing Prime Minister Mark Rutte, a staunch believer in EU integration who also hews closely to the hard-line budgetary conservatism of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
In between are a slew of euro-skeptic parties that are also nonetheless conscious of the bloc’s importance to the Netherlands, a nation whose economy is built on exports.
The leader of one such party is Emile Roemer, who heads the left-wing Socialists. His campaign symbol is the tomato, after the rotten fruit his supporters believe to be the just deserts of the EU-loving political establishment.
Mr. Roemer gained fame during the campaign by saying that, if he joins the next Dutch ruling coalition, the Netherlands would pay fines to Brussels for missing budget targets “over my dead body.”
At a recent campaign stop in his hometown of Boxmeer, a verdant town in the eastern Netherlands close to the German border, Mr. Roemer handed out tomato-flavored ice cream and said he wants “a more social Europe.”
His Socialists polled strongly throughout summer campaigning, before falling back to third place in a complicated race that likely will lead to long negotiations to form the next ruling coalition.
TWT Video Picks
Retailer pays a price for getting too close to Obama
- House task force to recommend National Guard on border, faster deportations
- CARSON: Costco and the perils of mixing politics and business
- Obama orders Pentagon advisers to Ukraine
- HURT: The cost of 'free' water in Detroit
- Two Ukrainian fighter jets shot down
- David Perdue defeats Jack Kingston in Georgia Republican Senate primary runoff
- DEACE: How to go from civil rights icon to bigot in one quote
- Beretta moving to Tennessee over Maryland gun laws
- IRS seeks help destroying another 3,200 computer hard drives
- D.C. appeals panel deals big blow to Obamacare subsidies
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq