Far-right or not, Dutch government won’t go wrong on Kyiv, West’s new Mecca

Rashmee Roshan Lall
3 min readMay 20, 2024
Photo by Artem Shuba on Unsplash

It may be a stretch to say that much of the world has been waiting six months to see who the Dutch will have as their next prime minister. But the Netherlands presumably does want to know. As should most of Europe because the mess cooked up in the Hague on May 16 will prove a test for European equanimity, as sure as stroopwafels are stroopwafels.

The big reveal comes the week of May 20.

Who will lead the Netherland’s new four-party coalition government, agreed by Geert Wilders’s far-right Party for Freedom (PVV), two centre-right parties, and the Farmer Citizen Movement (BBB)?

In other words, who will be prime minister and wield a wrecking ball to European Union (EU) pacts and policies on a range of key issues including migration, farming and enlargement?

Consider the agreement cobbled together by the four-party coalition.

It wants a carve-out from the EU’s new migration pact, in order to put in place the country’s “strictest asylum policy ever”. This would mean the Netherlands’ freezing the processing of asylum applications, the possible deportation, “even forcibly”, of anyone found in-country without valid residence papers, and housing asylum seekers in “austere facilities”. The country would also seek to opt out from the European bloc’s migration policy “as soon as possible”.

It regards further EU enlargement with a “very critical eye”. While Brussels seems prepared to welcome Ukraine and Moldova into the bloc at some point in the future, the Netherlands’ new government will reserve the right to “restrict the free movement of persons within the EU if and insofar as expansion of the EU is discussed”.

The coalition also wants to pay less into the EU’s common pot, making so bold as to demand austerity at the very moment that France’s President Emmanuel Macron is urging member states to contribute more to improved European defense.

Finally, the new Dutch government would “do everything in their power” to water down European agricultural regulations and reduce the maximum limits for nitrogen emissions. It is a signal that climate change will remain a hotly contested issue in the European bloc and the Netherlands won’t particularly help that cause.

And yet, yet…there’s one crucial point on which the Dutch will still keep the faith with Europe: Ukraine.

Just like Italy’s right-wing Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, the Netherlands’ new far-right government will stick with Ukraine. The incoming government will support Kyiv, truly, deeply and constantly.

As I have previously written, paying obeisance at the western world’s newest shrine, Kyiv, appears to have become a purity test of sorts.

Kyiv, which has become the political equivalent of the new Mecca for western leaders, is now not just a place of pilgrimage. It is a point on the map that is supposed to show how deeply a country and its leaders cherish western values of democracy and freedom. The argument seems to run as follows: However right wing you are as a government, you can’t go wrong if you back Ukraine!

Originally published at https://www.rashmee.com



Rashmee Roshan Lall

PhD. Journalism by trade & inclination. Writer. My novel 'Pomegranate Peace' is about my year in Afghanistan. I teach journalism at university in London