EU Benefits & Anti-Brexit – Dutch version; Remain & Brexiteers Take Note!

Proving that one can frame the EU debate in easy positive statistics and an optimistic, inclusive message, Dutch political platforms can serve as useful examples to the UK Remain crowd.

The election manifesto of the Dutch political party D66 could not be more explicit: “The European Union is and stays absolutely vital to the Dutch economy.” The actual word used is ‘levensbelang’ which literally means ‘critical to life.’ It continues that “Free exports to EU-member states earns annually €120 billion.” That equates to about 18% of Dutch GDP. D66 further notes that 1.5 million Dutchmen owe their jobs to exports to EU countries, being about 17% of the employed working-age population.

As to the Euro, there is equal plain speaking: “The benefits which the Euro bring us amount to about one week’s worth of salaries, annually.”

“Europe is the largest economy in the word. Through co-operation we can strengthen and enlarge this position,” continues the manifesto.

Strongly attacking the isolationist view, the VVD party uses a combative, positive phrasing. “We need those persistent optimists, because some want to run away entirely from problems. For instance, when things to wrong to call immediately for State intervention, or to kick entire groups of the population out of the country, or to leave the European Union (EU). This is all being sold as a courageous move of resistance. But there is nothing courageous about it. It is frightening. It is not a deed of opposition. It is a deed of giving up. That is not for us. When we encounter a problem, we roll up our sleeves. We solve the problems. Then, we look for new chances and opportunities.”

It is simple: a few easy to grasp, positive statistics about the contribution of the EU and the Euro, followed by a battle cry to just put the nose to the grindstone and work on simple improvements within the system.

Remainers, take note: you must spell out the benefits.

Brexiteers, take note: nothing brave, just sulking.

Arend Dikkers

February 20, 2017