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In the Netherlands, withdrawal into oneself becomes the norm

(BRUXELLES2) Buying the JSF F35 is a no! Spending on defense and even development is blah! The survey carried out for the Clingendael Institute by the Maurice de Hond polling organization with a sample of 1500 Dutch voters is more than enlightening. A few days before the early legislative elections (September 12), we can see a clear withdrawal of Dutch public opinion which is not only pacifist but also less open to the world than in the past.

More than half of respondents (58%) believe that not only defense spending should be reduced, but also that for development aid and contributions to the European Union. The reduction of diplomatic posts won 68% of the vote, the reduction of peacekeeping operations as well as the financing of the United Nations 55%. The JSF / F35 pulls off the feat of drawing a large majority of respondents against it (nearly 80%). Only the fight against piracy holds its own: only 22% of those interviewed believe that it will reduce the cost, while nearly 70% are in favor of maintaining this commitment.

Defensiveness varies across political parties

Of course, this opinion differs considerably depending on the political leanings of the respondent. Thus for defense spending, a majority of voters from the Liberal Party (VVD) and the Christian Democratic Party (CDA) are of the opinion that new additional budget cuts are not necessary. In contrast, 87% of voters on the radical left (SP), which is currently riding high in the polls, want to save more, as do 85% of GroenLinks voters (Greens) and 72% of those who would vote Labor (PvdA ).

Russian no longer scares

Asked about the main threat at international level, it is the euro crisis that wins the prize (nearly one in two Dutch people), far ahead of the arrival of China (2%), natural disasters or the international terrorism. Instability in the Middle East or North Africa receives only 12% of respondents... and Russia 5%!

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).