Elections in Europe

We do have many Polish workers but I’m really only close to two of them as they in management roles and I deal with them a fair bit during day to day activities and have stayed with their family in Poland a few times. One of them came out to Australia before doing his Army duty whilst the other served time in the Army and he now has two sons that are currently serving in the Polish Army. They both absolutely despised Merkel and the feeling amongst them is that Tusk was a lapdog of Merkel. And yes the Polish are probably the most racist people I’ve encountered and they actually seem quite proud of it. When we stayed with them last trip they were pointing out shops in town that the locals had burnt down that were Muslim owned and they are very proud that there are very few mosques in Poland and they don’t want Muslims in the country. Was pretty hard biting our tongue and when we head back next year I think we will avoid staying with them

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Yep we had good customers there and lovely people but full of hate for anything not Catholic and seem to despise other Europeans. Strangely Australians are really welcomed.

The funding for the new factory and our equipment all came from EU !

I have one close Polish friend. She could not feel more differently. Not that she’s a fan of Tusk, but she despises PiS

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Them crazy Germans

Following Borne’s resignation as French PM over immigration policies, Attal has been appointed as the youngest PM at 35yo, reportedly as a counterpoint to Le Pen in the popularity stakes.
A former Socialist, he reportedly comes from a family of privilege, , aligned with Macron. The father is of Tunisian Jewish descent, the mother of Odessa Orthodox Christian descent.
He is gay, another (official) first for a French PM.

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Meanwhile, the new Polish PM arranges for the arrest of some former Ministers for abuse of power. They had been given sanctuary at the Presidential Palace.
Polish politics

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Geert Wilders has abandoned his bid to be Dutch PM

https://twitter.com/BBCWorld/status/1767993903687356825

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Some good news for a change.

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The Socialist Party appears to have won over the Independence Party in the Catalan regional elections.
Sanchez copped flak at the National level for engaging with the Separists. It seems to have paid off.

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6 months later…

https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/dutch-nationalist-wilders-says-deal-right-wing-government-is-very-close-2024-05-15/

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The new Dutch Government coalition agreement

This one jumped out

  • Raising the standard speed on roads to 130km/h up from 100km/h

HOOOOOOOOONS!

Getting to grips with asylum and migration

  • Legislation to ensure all local authorities take their fair share of refugees will be scrapped
  • Refugees will no longer be given permanent residency permits
  • Refugees who fail in their applications will be “deported” as much as possible, including “forced deportations”
  • Refugees who are granted the right to stay will no longer have priority to get social housing
  • The automatic right to bring in family members will be scrapped
  • The coalition will ask the European Commission for an opt-out on European refugee and migration policy and wants to bring in more border checks.
  • Extra rules will be brought in covering foreign workers and the labour inspectorate will have more powers to check up on the use of non-EU workers
  • More limits will be imposed on foreign student numbers, by boosting the number of Dutch courses, bringing in maximum numbers for foreign students and increasing university fees for non-EU students
  • Knowledge of the Holocaust will become a compulsory part of the integration process
  • It will only be possible to become Dutch after 10 years and if legally possible, people will have to give up their foreign nationality to do so
  • Level B1 will become the standard language demand for naturalisation

Spending power and social security

  • The own risk element in healthcare will be halved from 2027 to €165
  • Tax on income will be cut “for example by introducing a new income tax bracket”
  • More measures to stimulate the use of permanent job contracts
  • Help with dealing with debts to be improved
  • Organised childcare to become “virtually free”
  • Home owners with solar panels will no longer be able to deduct the energy they feed back into the national grid from their energy bills from 2027
  • Unemployment benefit (WW) will be cut from two years to 18 months

Housing, infrastructure and public transport

  • The Netherlands needs to build 100,000 new homes a year and this will be done by making more land available, including the “extra street” concept for all towns and villages
  • Social housing rent increases will be limited to inflation from 2026 and 30% of all new construction must be rent-controlled
  • No changes planned to mortgage tax relief and there will be a limit to local tax increases for home owners
  • Measures will be taken to encourage the development of more rental property and to encourage private landlords
  • New legal anchors will be introduced to make it possible to subdivide existing homes into flats, boost generation-wide living and flat sharing, as well as repurposing existing buildings
  • Raising the standard speed on roads to 130km/h up from 100km/h
  • Public transport will be strengthened, particularly in rural areas, and the train link between Groningen and Lelystad will go ahead

Farming, fishing, food security and nature

  • The coalition will do “all it can” to adapt European farming regulations with regard to nitrogen-based pollution and enriching Natura 2000 protected areas
  • The Netherlands will no longer pursue a more ambitious strategy to improve nature than the rest of Europe
  • There will be no compulsory measures to reduce the amount of livestock or compulsory purchase orders for farms
  • Cheap “red diesel”, scrapped in 2013, will be brought back for farmers

Energy and climate

  • The coalition will keep to current targets and “only develop alternative policies if we don’t reach those targets”
  • The climate fund, set up to finance measures to improve the climate will remain in place but will be cut by €1.2 billion
  • The Netherlands will develop four rather than two new nuclear power stations
  • Heat pumps will not be compulsory and subsidies for electric cars will be scrapped in 2025
  • No more gas will be produced from the Groningen fields but drilling will be scaled up in the North Sea
  • Wind turbines will be placed offshore as much as possible, taking fishing fleet needs into account
  • Subsidies for generating green energy will be cut by €1 billion a year

Public services, healthcare and education

  • Emphasis on improving front line car services, including family doctors, community nursing and home care
  • Efforts to be made to make working in the care sector more attractive by giving workers more autonomy and career prospects and cutting red tape. However, the budget to do this is being cut
  • Cuts will be made in spending on public health
  • In education, teaching methods “must be proved to be effective and politically neutral”
  • Funding for creating broad streams in the first years of secondary school will be scrapped
  • The use of English should be reduced at universities and colleges
  • No changes on medical ethical issues such as abortion and euthanasia

Good governance and a strong constitution

  • The coalition will start work on a new electoral system for the lower house of parliament which will “strengthen the link between the regions and their elected representatives”
  • The new system should be ready for the next general election
  • Work will start on setting up a constitutional court where legal changes would be assessed. This is one of the main demands made by the NSC’s Pieter Omtzigt
  • A ”right to make a mistake” legislation will be drawn up to make sure that “a single mistake cannot drive people deep into problems”. Government debt collection fees will be slashed
  • Central government will employ fewer civil servants and consultants
  • Spending on public broadcasting system will be cut by €100 million
  • Value added tax on hotel stays will go back to 21% but not on campsites
  • Value added tax will rise on the cultural sector, such as theatre and museums, but not cinemas and amusement parks

National security

  • Tougher approach to dealing with organised crime including more rights to sequester criminal assets
  • Tougher approach towards money laundering
  • Tougher sentences for terrorism and serious violent and sex crimes
  • Maximum sentences for youth criminality will be increased
  • The minimum age to be a sex worker will be increased to 21
  • There will be a “sharper” division made between (peaceful) demonstrations and disruptive acts, including threats against others public violence “will not be tolerated”
  • The definition of membership of a terrorist organisation will be widened and the maximum sentence for involvement in terrorism increased to 20 years.

International security

  • “The Netherlands will continue to support Ukraine against Russian aggression politically, militarily, financially and morally”
  • The Nato defence spending norm of 2% of GDP will be anchored law
  • Research will start on the logistics of moving the Dutch embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem
  • “The Netherlands will be extremely critical about further expansion of the EU and no concessions will be done to the criteria for membership”
  • Cuts in spending on development aid to reach €2.4 bn a year from 2027

Government finances, economy and business climate

  • The business climate must be improved and some of the recent tax increases will be cut. That includes the increase in energy taxes and the tax on share buybacks
  • In total, the four parties have agreed spending cuts of €14.7 billion a year and “spend” the same in tax cuts and investments
  • The new government will ensure that the budget deficit remains a maximum of 2.8% of GDP and the national debt will remain below 60%
  • If it appears as if the 3% EMU norm is about to be breached, then “additional measures” will be taken, starting with spending cuts
  • The tax on gambling will go up from 30.5% to 37.8%

I really have no idea what all of this, but this stuck out to me as…churlish, and childish, and insular and stupid.

Don’t even know what party it is, but sheesh.

Edit: I mean…it’s Your friggin’ country?!?!
Maybe I’m missing the nuance.

And they’ll presumably be told to get stuffed on that one.

Good luck implementing all of those points in any reasonable timeframe. A fair amount of what looks like BFY,TW in there…

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Having stood on a packed bus between central Amsterdam and the airport, I think the 100 to 130 thing is just formalizing a norm.

There was no chance the bus was doing only 100.

Yep, from the regular driving I’ve done in the Netherlands I think speed limits are just a guide and no one takes them seriously.

The EU Common Agriculture policy and returns to small farmers in that policy is reflected in protests across the EU.
Environment is taking second place, including deferral of the ban on some harmful chemicals.
Also the economic issue of set-asides to manage EU budgetary expenditure is under strain,
Additionally EU concessions to Ukraine agricultural products are causing tensions. The purpose of the concessions was to provide an inland route to Atlantic ports following limited opportunities to ship from the Black Sea. But instead of transiting, the lower priced Ukraine products hit farmer pockets in Northern Europe.

Five years ago Dutton was making headlines, saying Australia wouldn’t surrender its sovereignty by signing on to a UN deal on refugees…
(Surrendered Australian sovereignty to WADA, a private company );

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Last week I drove between Utrecht and Nijmegen. Officially the speed limit was 100 but at 105 most cars were passing me comfortably.

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The Far Right expels the ADF ( the extreme right ) from its EU Parliamentary Group.
Normalising the far right