Renew Europe will vote to expel Dutch VVD party on June 10, group leader says

The Dutch centrist party’s decision to enter a four-way coalition with a far-right faction is unacceptable for the group’s leadership.

The Netherlands’ VVD party’s membership in the European Parliament’s centrist group will be put to a vote following EU-wide elections after it entered into a coalition with a far-right party, the leader of Renew Europe told a French broadcaster on Tuesday.

“I totally disapprove of this political decision at the national level. I think they’ve (VVD) set themselves apart from our values,” Valérie Hayer told BFM television.

“Secondly, as group president, I have a collective responsibility and the decision must be taken together on 10 June in accordance with the group’s statutes,” Hayer added.

Her comments come five days after VVD, the party of outgoing Prime Minister Mark Rutte, announced it had entered a four-way coalition agreement with Geert Wilders’ PVV, the centre-right New Social Contract (NSC), and the populist Farmer-Citizen Movement (BBB).

PVV, led by anti-Islam firebrand and staunch eurosceptic Wilders, swept to victory in November’s general election, securing over a quarter of the vote and 37 of the House of Representatives’ 150 seats.

The four-way deal struck last week pledges to set a limit to the number of asylum requests that can be accepted, tighten requirements for temporary residence permits, bring an end to automatic family reunification, extend the standard naturalisation period to 10 years and call on foreigners to renounce their original nationality when seeking Dutch citizenship.

Hayer, who is French President Emmanuel Macron’s pick for the European election, had immediately condemned the deal, arguing the PVV “is the opposite of what we defend on values, the rule of law, the economy, the climate and, of course, Europe.”

Asked on Tuesday whether VVD could remain in the group, Hayer said: “For me, this is an unacceptable option because they are not respecting our values by making this alliance.”

“We’ve always respected the cordon sanitaire (against the far right). It’s one of the group’s absolute values, and I’ll take my responsibilities after the election to ensure that these values continue to be respected,” she added.

Renew Europe is set to be among the losers of the upcoming European elections held from June 6 to June 9, with a projected 86 seats, down from 100 currently, according to the Euronews’ Poll Centre. This is despite the fact that the number of members of the European Parliament (MEPs) is set to grow from 705 to 720.

The far-right ID group, of which Wilder’s PVV is a member, is however forecast to grow in influence by clinching 82 seats, up from its current 59.

Hayer’s national party, Renaissance, is trailing the far-right Rassemblement National (RN) in domestic polls in France and is now expected to secure about 16% of the vote against 31% for its far-right rival.

She rejected any notion of ever working with the RN, telling BFM: “It’s out of the question, never in my life. In any case, politically, I’ve never associated myself in any way with the extreme right.”

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Categories: Alternative, Politics
Anton Nieuwenhuizen

Written by:Anton Nieuwenhuizen All posts by the author

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