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EU Sweats On Coalition Talks As Pro-'Nexit' PVV Wins Plurality


Correction to date of Nexit poll.

The plurality won by Geert Wilders' right-wing nationalist Party for Freedom (PVV) in the 22 Nov general election has not only cause political waves domestically, but at the EU as well. During the course of the election campaign Wilders was noted to have toned-down his most controversial rhetoric regarding the position of Islam in the Netherlands, but continued to advocate for a referendum on the country's EU membership. It should be noted that the most recent pollingon 'Nexit' from June 2020 showed a 3-1 margin in favour of remaining.

  • A gov't led by or involving Wilders would prove very difficult for Brussels to work with. While other parties in a coalition involving the PVV may seek to moderate his most eurosceptic instincts, the Netherlands' support for weapons for Ukraine, action on climate change, and reform to EU fiscal rules at risk.
  • A more centrist coalition (see here for details) would come as a major relief for Brussels, especially in the event that former European Commission Exec VP Frans Timmermans becomes PM. Having served at the Commission from 2014 until August when he resigned to run for Dutch PM, Timmermans would be seen as a figure the EU could 'do business with'.
  • Over the longer term, though, the exclusion of Wilders' PVV from gov't could serve to galvanise eurosceptic sentiment in the Netherlands. As was proved in the UK's Brexit vote, excluding eurosceptic parties from gov't does not necessarily dampen their message.

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