10 December 2003
AMSTERDAM — The Dutch Labour PvdA and the green-left GroenLinks parities announced on Wednesday that they will co-operate in next year’s European elections to ensure the “progressives” do not lose out in the carve up for the final, marginal seats.
This is the first time two Dutch parties have agreed to co-operate in this manner for a European election. It is all the more unusual as the PvdA and Groenlinks are members of different political groupings in Europe, news agency Novum Nieuws reported.
The scrabble for marginal, hard-to-predict seats will be more acute than ever in the election on 1 May next year as the Dutch tally of MEPs will drop from 31 to 27 as a result of the enlargement of 10 new states to the EU.
The Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) elected for the PvdA sit in the socialist faction, while Groenlinks is part of the alliance of European green and regional parties.
National parties in the 15 EU member states run under their own name in European elections, but once elected, MEPs do not form groups with their fellow countrymen and women elected for another party.
Instead, they join political groups or factions with MEPs from other countries who share their political philosophy.
The right-of-centre European People’s Party, with approximately 230 MEPs, emerged as the largest grouping after the last election in 1999. The Party of European Socialists, 180 MEPs, is the second largest faction in the European Parliament.
Previous attempts by GroenLinks to convince the PvdA to form a combined list for the Dutch national elections have been rebuffed. But the two parties said on Wednesday that there are sufficient reasons for them to co-operate on the European level.
Both parties say they are in favour of a strong, social and democratic Europe and largely agree on their attitudes to the proposed European Constitution.
PvdA grassroots members are debate the link-up during a special party conference in the northern Dutch city of Groningen on Friday and Saturday.
PvdA party leader Wouter Bos is a supporter of co-operation with the greens over Europe. “This is unique. Despite the fact that our two parties don’t sit in the same faction we would rather see the last seats go to the other party.”
But Bos ruled out a similar tie-up with the Dutch Socialist Party (SP). “The SP opposes the EU Constitution and we have a positive attitude,” he said.
[Copyright Expatica News 2003]
Subject: Dutch news + EU election