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New Dutch PM must look beyond national political landscape

In the upcoming Dutch general elections, the focus of the party campaigns is on national issues. Luuk van Middelaar, Professor of Foundations and Practice of the European Union and its Institutions, argues in a column in Dutch newspaper NRC that foreign policy should also be on the agenda.

A passive approach

There are six clear themes in the election campaigns: healthcare, the housing shortage, trust in government, climate, migration, and livelihood security. But the last three themes extend beyond our national borders, says Van Middelaar. He finds it remarkable that the focus of debates on these themes is exclusively on domestic policy. 'A rather passive approach. There’s little about causes or action by the Netherlands in a European or international context.' Consider, for example, Putin's invasion of Ukraine, the war in the Middle East, and the impact of Dutch multinational corporation AMSL on the world stage. 'The perspective of action is lacking. That’s an attitude that can have a boomerang effect,' Van Middelaar said. 

A national debate

The coming period will see major political decisions on foreign policy that will have significant domestic consequences. Van Middelaar: 'The crux of the matter is: this debate about the future of Europe is one that we need to have now. It’s a national debate. You can't say: we'll do that “debate on Europe” next spring in the European Parliament elections.'

Find out more?

Read the full column by Van Middelaar (in Dutch) in NRC (€).

Photo: William Navarro via Unsplash

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