The word on the street in the Netherlands is EU consitution. Maybe where you live you haven’t heard, so I’ll briefly tell you about how France voted 55% against the draft of the European Constitution. ‘Course less then 5% probably read it, but nevermind, civic education isn’t a prerequiset in present-day democracy. I’ll let Madame L tell you more about the French case.
But the buzz here in Amsterdam is: you thought the French were rough, the Dutch are going to spit all over the dam thing. Oh yeah, they’re voting (we?) in a referendum wednesday and the No camp is everywhere and everyone is climbing aboard.
Normally I would have nothing against a well-informed and thought out NO vote to such a proposal. The Dutch, like all of Europe in the past 20 years, have seen their beautiful social system dismantled in the name of liberalization. And to ad insult to injury soon most of them will be employed through temp agencies, much like yours truely – if they have a job at all. But what’s happenning here is not a sudden moment of clarity for the electorate. I’ve listened to the opinions, I’ve tapped into the grapevine; this is mass hysteria. This is an angry citizenry who are unable to properly focus their anger. I mean really, who do you complain to about this global economy? It’s like getting angry at the rain.
Therefore I’m pissed. Seems the majority of the French and Dutch want to just lock the doors and step into a time warp with the year set at 1996 or something. Two of the most openminded cultures in the world, hubs of art and science, are falling into a panic. They say politicians are out of touch with the electorate. That’s an easy one. But I suspect the electorate is out of touch with itself, and reality for that matter.
But beyond any of this, as a Portuguese citizen living and working legally within the EU, I feel like these votes are against me. Against the idea that I should travel and work freely. As if my type of life choices are somehow dangerous to them. I can’t help but feel that they don’t see the Europe that I embody. Not a Europe bent on economic domination. But a Union that understands we have alot in common, and that together aims at achieving a good quality of life, beyond your stupid borders.