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The European parliament elections – Habermas versus Farage


You would expect that, in the run off to the ‘mother of all European elections’ – the forthcoming May 2014 elections for the European Parliament, at which everyone expects a giant battle between pro-EU and anti-EU forces -, that political parties would come up with the best lists of candidates possible and campaign on the most daring and convincing party programmes ever.


For the Netherlands, and my own party, Dutch Labour (PvdA), I am afraid to say, this is not the case. It is even worse than could be imagined: a tragic paradox seems to be playing out over the last decade. The more important and powerful the EU-level and eurozone matters become, the less quality parties seem to be able and willing to invest in European politics, in terms of personnel and programme development.


Social democratic parties preach that, by definition, they are the internationalist pro-EU parties, but they do not practice this with their heart and soul, to put it mildly.


Historically, it has not been the best or the brightest who have been active in European politics in Brussels and Strasbourg (I dare to say so, because I was a European candidate myself on the last PvdA-list, representing the not so good and bright). The strange thing is that this does not seem to be improving spectacularly, now European politics is more and more centre-stage due to the financial-economic governance of the currency union and the (assumed) disappearance of borders in our post-national world.


I dare to break this taboo on personal political quality, because the leadership candidates for the PvdA-group in the European Parliament did so themselves, even in Dutch newspapers:

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