The Corner

Dutch Treat

’Interesting speech by Dutch foreign minister’ is hardly the stuff of headlines, but in an interesting speech last week, Dutch foreign minister Bernard Bot signaled that even some of the more enthusiastic europhiles are having their doubts about the way that Brussels is wielding the power it has extracted from the EU member states.

“We must realize that there are limits to the degree of integration that Europeans can digest,” he said. “People must be given a chance to adjust. There is a widespread sense of unease about Europe, about loss of national identity, and about an EU that increasingly intrudes into their everyday lives. The European Union is, after all, a union of member states. That is something we should never forget.” He said that “patronizing” Eurocrats were pushing through idiotic regulations “such as telling window cleaners how to hold ladders”. By doing so they were “creating a culture of tolerance for rule-breaking” by forcing local authorities to defy the law.”

Wise words, and, as was clearly the case with the Daily Telegraph writer who reported the speech, it is difficult not to be amused by this jibe:

“In a caustic aside, Mr Bot mocked the “arrogance” of states “such as France” which threatened to expel those countries that rejected the constitution after a popular vote without daring to put the text to their own people.”



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