Wednesday 30 September 2009

Who is Jan Peter Balkenende?

If the Irish vote Yes in the Lisbon 2009 referendum, the Lisbon Treaty has been approved in all member states and it should enter into force as quickly as possible. (Procrastination by Polish President Lech Kaczynski and active sabotage by Czech President Vaclav Klaus and his defeated Senators would lack legitimacy in the eyes of Europe.)

The European Council would nominate its President and the new High Representative.

Despite talk about former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, even presented as a done deal by Jean Quatremer in Coulisses de Bruxelles, the name of Jan Peter Balkenende has been cropping up with increasing frequency.

Balkenende is Prime Minister of the Netherlands since 2002, and he belongs to the political family of centre-right Christian Democrats, dominant in the EU member states. He has represented his mid-sized country in the European Council about seven years, and he would probably cause less outcry among the public than Blair, who lead his country tightly along the lines of Bush and failed in his promise to bring the UK to the heart of Europe.

Here is a short Wikipedia biography of Balkenende.

If two of the three top jobs go to centre-right or liberal politicians, the centre-left can expect to get the third. In case of a Barroso and Balkenende solution, the European leaders might look for a High Representative among the social democrats (socialists).

This scenario would mean trouble for such potential candidates as Sweden’s Carl Bildt, Italy’s Franco Frattini and Finland’s Olli Rehn.

Could it be the German social democrat Frank Walter Steinmeier, who represents a big (the biggest) member state, as Jean Quatremer suggests?

Ralf Grahn


  1. At least one the three top EU jobs should be held by a woman. There's way too many men at the European Council already. Let's get used to talking about female candidacies such as Margot Wälstrom's, Tarja Halonen's or Mary Robinson's. All great candidates.

  2. Eurosocialiste,

    Gender is one of the important factors along with personal experience and competence, political affiliation, member state (hopefully within all the core areas) etc.

    A while ago I called for the European social democrats and socialists to propose their candidate(s) publicly, not to make the same mistake as before the European elections.

    By the way, my country (Finland) elected more women than men to the European Parliament, and not because of the list system, but by individual votes by citizens. We vote for an individual candidate on a party list, something I hope other Europeans would be allowed to do, under a system of proportional representation in national and municipal elections, too.

  3. As sad as it is we need a weak President of the European Council in order to strategically balance a weak commission. In this sense Balkenende would be very helpful. Blair or even Walstrom would be too strong in comparison with Barroso.
    For more argumentation on this see:

  4. I am from the Netherlands. And I know that Balkenende would be a very wrong choice.
    In the Netherlands he has been absent in each and every crisis. Only when the opposition forces him to an opinion, he comes up with some kind of statement. He gives the impression of someone suffering from a clinical depression.
    Beside this, he is a child! When he first met Bush jr., the former president of the USA, he behaved like a small boy that got a compliment of a headmaster. When he was patted on his shoulder by mister president, he was out of his wits from joy. In the Netherlands we made jokes about this, but we were extremely embarrassed. To please this Bush, he dragged us in an illegal war with Iraq. When the new coalition for his present government was formed, he demanded, that there would be no interrogation about this war. So we, the people, are not allowed to know what really let to this war.
    A dutch soldier in Iraq fired his gun in the air during a riot. At that time an Iraqi male fell to the ground, apparently wounded or death, nobody knows. The same day an Iraqi male was buried. Maybe the same person, maybe another. The dutch soldier was arrested for murder by the dutch prosecutors office. Then there were endless trials against this soldier. In the end, each and every judge did acquit him from every charge and the dutch authorities had to pay him a great lot of money.
    And now the big question. The Netherlands were in war with Iraq. During that war a soldier was attacked in the back by the dutch prosecutors office. Were was prime-minister Balkenende when this happened? This is of course a rhetorical question. He was were he is always when we need him: hiding in his tower, playing Harry Potter.
    And now a question for the readers of this. And this question is NOT rhetorical.

    Do you want such a person to be the leader of the European Union? Do you want Balkenende as your "president"?

    I do not know if Blair would be a very good choice. But I have seen enough from Blair, that he would not abandon his own soldiers during a war that he himself choose for them. If you lead your soldiers into a war, you have to stand behind them, support them. As he once said:
    "Backbone, not back down".

    Or in other words:
    "Backbone, not back down, is what the European Union needs."

    There is no place in European government for a wimp and traitor like Balkenende. If his own soldiers can not rely on him, can we?

  5. Civil war in the Netherlands:
    After the murder on Pim Fortuyn we nearly had civil war.
    At this moment we have a situation like Germany in 1932. Voters run away from the traditional parties and flee to extremists. On one hand, we have the Socialistic Party (a new breed of communists), on the other hand we have Geert Wilders. Wilders is extremely anti-Islamic, like Hitler was extremely anti-Semitic. I do not believe that Wilders is psychotic like Hitler, and the Netherlands is only a small country, unlike Germany. So we should not equal Hitler and Wilders.

    There are two dangerous paths to the future:

    1. Another left-wing extremist murders Wilders. In that case we will have civil war. Every person accused of left-wing extremism will have to run for his/her life.

    2. In the next election the Socialist Party and Wilders will get so many votes, that it becomes impossible to form a government without both of them. In the most likely scenario, the Christian Democrats will support Wilders and make him prime-minister. Like the Christian Democrats in Germany 1933 supported Hitler.

    In both scenarios the Netherlands is not a place to be. Not if you are a reasonable person. And certainly not if you are a Muslim.
    Will I stay? In 2004 I moved to the extreme north-east of the Netherlands, at the German border. I plan emigration in the next two years.

    My advise to Muslims: If you live elsewhere, do not go near the Netherlands. If you live in the Netherlands, plan your emigration.

    My advise to foreign investors: Cut your losses, sell and leave. The establishment has ruined the country. The Netherlands is no longer a society. It is an aggregate of people looking for opportunities, without social cohesion. People in the Netherlands only laugh when another person goes down. That is an opportunity. You do not find this in newspapers. They are controlled by the establishment. But you do find it if you talk to the people.

    About 10% of the dutch population is Muslim. What do you think will happen when Geert Wilders becomes prime-minister?

    After reading this, can anyone in his right mind, support "Balkenende for president"? He is the leader of the establishment that caused this mess. Personally I like Balkenende to stay as the Dutch prime-minister as long as possible. When he leaves, there will be elections. After the elections: chaos. If we can postpone the elections for another year, I might have time to flee the country.

  6. Andreas Firewolf,

    Your picture of the Netherlands is dispiriting, but what should the post of President of the European Council look like, could the procedures be improved to guarantee input by EU citizens, and who should be (s)elected?


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