He is, so to speak, from my ‘backyard’: Knegsel, of all places. Former goal-getter at the Knegselse Boys, and who doesn’t know this 5th leaguer from department E? He is the chairman of the Dutch branch of Volt. Laurens Dassen is the name of this newcomer in politics. And he is not at all pessimistic about the future of the Occident. On the contrary.

What a relief after all the nagging and squealing about ‘less Europe’. This up-and-coming Kempen European talks about the importance of a uniform corporation tax in the European Union (EU) and a single European army. It’s been a long wait for this kind of sound: fearless in favour of the EU. On to the Europe of the regions. For better external borders, smarter immigration policy and common security policy. New to me, but Volt is participating in eight countries in the forthcoming elections to the European Parliament.

So it is not at all: in or out. Some are pushing us in the direction of a ‘desirable approaching end’ to the EU. An implosion seems imminent. Euroscepticism as the basic attitude. After #Brexit, #Nexit and all other #exits are presented to us by a few as an enriching perspective. Absurd horizons are sketched out for us. Life without the EU would take us to a 21-century Valhalla. The misery that the British have poured out on themselves with their disastrous #Brexit strategy serving as a shining example for those who think that the hopeless road ‘backwards’ that the Islanders have gone on, is also the best route for the rest of us.

The Netherlands is a country that thrives on open borders, tolerance and hospitality. Fortunately, polls showed that almost 80% of the Dutch do not see any benefit in leaving the EU. So don’t worry about the imminent departure of our country, one of the founders of European cooperation.

Nevertheless, many political parties remain ambivalent in their European programmes about the EU’s worthwhile long-term objectives. Indeed, in the House of Representatives, there is apparently a majority in favour of removing from the treaty the goal of  ‘…an ever closer union between the peoples of Europe…’. Party-politically driven opportunism, that’s what it is. The overriding ‘sticking-plaster’-motto seems to be: not too much Union, especially a great deal of sovereignty and especially less Brussels.

Nation-states are 19th-century fabrications of lusty power politicians. It ultimately caused our parents and grandparents a great deal of misery during the 20th century.

The EU fails to cherish its welfare state and preaches neo-liberalism of an incomprehensible kind.

Many people have lost the ‘click’ with European politics and are rightly concerned about the political-bureaucratic circuses in Brussels and Strasbourg. What we need is decisiveness on these issues – by acting together.  No romantic nonsense talking as if our cultural identity is being thrown into disarray. Sowing the fear that we will have to contribute too much of our Dutch euros to allow the southern euro to retain some of its value.

The sentiments surrounding the importance of the nation-state are interspersed with fake romance and pettiness. Nation-states are 19th-century fabrications of lusty power politicians. It ultimately caused our parents and grandparents a great deal of misery during the 20th century. Peace and security in our region have now been guaranteed for almost three quarters of a century thanks to the close cooperation with other countries on this beautiful continent.

So let’s keep it that way: go vote. For candidates like the boy from Knegsel, for example.

Pieter Hendrikse looks at the events in and sometimes also outside Eindhoven. He does this both from his own expertise (education, social/cultural domain) and in a free role.

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