Election Interview: “Don’t wait for refugees to stand at the gate”

Photo: Leonard Walpot / CDA

Prior to the March general election, interviewed many prominent members of the party’s policies. Today, Gordon Darokku speaks with CDA MP Martijn van Helvert.

Compromise is the essence of politics, and Martijn van Helvert believes it’s time to make it fashionable again. A Christian Democratic diplomatic and defense spokesman said the fulcrum returned to the center ten years after stringent populist rights tended to be in tune both domestically and internationally.

The CDA is working with nationalists directly under former leader Sybrand Buma, focusing on mass immigration and fear of “citizens of concern” and trying to reaffirm its status as a moderately conservative party. ..

“In these uncertain times, the coronavirus pandemic attracts many people to a radical left or right perspective, and I can understand that,” says Van Helbert. .. “But on the other hand, the need for nuances is higher than ever. You can make all sorts of demands independently, but the Netherlands is democracy and ultimately we need to work together. there is.

“The area around the drink table may not sound that sexy, but people are aware of it when they enter the voting booth. There is a great demand for unifying the central political parties, which is why the CDA I think it could be the biggest party in these elections.

As the 25th candidate on the CDA list, 42-year-old Van Helvert needs a strong show for his party or himself to return to Congress. He became a member of parliament in November 2014 and was slightly overtaken by Peter Omzikt in a priority vote two years ago.

Van Helbert has laid a solid foundation in his hometown of Limburg, a former member of the state legislature. He made a short pitch for party leaders last June under the slogan Wat ons bindt, but after winning zero in an Een Vandaag poll. Withdrew after 6 days.

In this month’s election, he launched a personal campaign to secure 25,000 priority votes. He believes this is enough to return to Congress even if the CDA wins about 20 seats, as current polls suggest. “I was elected in 2017 with 19,000 preferential votes, which is great because I can sign contracts directly with voters rather than parties,” he says. “People think you should do the job, so you are there.”

Russian sanctions

Van Helbert, on the one hand, seeks to strengthen relations within organizations such as NATO and the European Union, but is not ashamed to be involved in the economic influence of Europe, where diplomacy is inadequate, and is practical in diplomacy. I have a view. He called on the EU to use the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline to help Russia on issues ranging from the MH17 trial to the addiction of opposition leader Alexei Navalny. Navalny’s arrest after returning from treatment in Germany urged the US and EU to impose new sanctions on Russian individuals and businesses this week.

“We want a good relationship with Russia, but our attempt to get them involved in the dialogue doesn’t work,” says Van Helbert. “Russia’s economy is so advanced that if there is one area where Putin can be touched, it’s financial. At least it’s time to threaten economic sanctions, and Nordstream could. It is one.

As chair of the U.S. Parliamentary Liaison Group, Van Helbert saw how Donald Trump’s confrontational leadership style made dialogue even more difficult even between allies:’The United States spends more on defense for a long time. He said he needed, but when Obama got off, he smiled and waved at the plane, then came to the table, and by the way, the Netherlands, he said he needed to pay more.

“Trump comes straight from the plane and says: You’re not paying enough. Biden also thinks he should spend more on defense, Obama, Trump and Biden absolutely I have to say that it is correct, but Biden chooses dialogue over coercion.

Tigray crisis

Van Helbert also raised awareness of one of the world’s forgotten conflicts in the Tigray region of Ethiopia, where the three-month war between Ethiopia and the Eritrean army put the region at risk of famine. I have been working on it. Local leaders and international observers reported genocide and genocide, especially by the Eritrean army, but Ethiopia stagnated efforts to provide humanitarian relief.

“Almost nothing is happening at this point,” says Van Helvert. “We need to build support within the European Union to require Ethiopia to grant immediate access to humanitarian aid, which is one step into famine, with the majority of the population severely hungry. It’s the most important thing because it’s missing. “

The coronavirus pandemic now dominates the world’s horizons, but Dutch voters must be unaware of the consequences of anxiety in other parts of the word, says Van Helbert. “The more peace and stability the world has, the better the Dutch trading position, which is why we have a responsibility to support the creation of peace and security that does not exist.

“Apart from the fact that you want to do something for your fellow humans, we convey the rights of Fringe, who are only interested in self-interest, as part of the UN Army, or if we do not stop violence at all. It should be. The time will come when people will begin to flee to the Netherlands. Therefore, from that perspective, it can be argued that there is a reason for the Netherlands to be involved.

Strict immigration rules

The CDA supports stricter rules on immigration and asylum, including criminal offenses for asylum seekers staying in the Netherlands, but Van Helbert argues that this is consistent with a humanitarian approach. .. His party wants to renew the International Refugee Convention, so the country is obliged to regain the citizens who have been denied asylum.

“The procedure needs to be simpler and clearer, or it will lead to disastrous scenes if people stay and integrate for a very long time and then have to leave,” says Van Helbert. “At the same time, not all of these people need to come to Europe because we need to ensure that the conflict is resolved. We shouldn’t wait for people to stand at our gates. Tigray is one example.”

Dissatisfied peasant

The pandemic also masked the dissatisfaction of the Dutch agricultural community with the requirement to reduce nitrogen oxide and ammonia emissions. It was only a year ago that the Farmers Defense Force (FDF) organized a large-scale protest in The Hague and the tractor Optimus Prime picketed a state legislature home. In November 2019, the CDA withdrew from the North Brabant coalition government, which has the largest livestock sector in any state, over nitrogen policy and joined the new coalition government with the Forum for Democracy, a far-right party led by Thierry Bode. I did.

Christian democracies are traditionally strong in rural communities, but nitrogen protests support them as populist rivals such as Bode and Geert Wilders collaborate with the FDF to speak from the tractor’s bonnet. I weakened it. Like the pandemic, the sense of crisis urged people to seek comfort with a radical alternative, says Van Helbert.

“No other area is as regulated as agriculture, so you can understand why farmers are angry. Some farmers participated in VVDs or forums, but in all polls, Jaco from the CDA. When Geurts are the best spokespersons for agriculture and ask farmers which party helped them the most, it’s the CDA.

D66 and GroenLinks want to significantly reduce the Dutch livestock sector, but Van Helvert argues that the success of Dutch farmers should not be punished. He told the ambassadors of countries from Armenia to Suriname about transferring production to countries with low atmospheric nitrogen levels.

“We have the agricultural expertise they need and they don’t have the nitrogen problems we have,” he says. “So why not help farmers expand their businesses and move some of their production elsewhere, instead of halving herds of cattle?”

“No one will give out”

CDA leader Wopke Hoekstra has clearly ruled out the inclusion of the forum in the coalition government, but Van Helvert made his pledge in the summer that the two parties should not exclude each other before voters decide. I support you. “I don’t think they want to join the government with us because the forum says the CDA wants to destroy Dutch society, but I don’t exclude anyone. For example, the value of the community. There has been a lot of controversy with D66 about the view, but nevertheless I have been working with D66 for the past four years.

The pandemic reminded us that the government’s top priority should be to provide people with basic needs such as health and safety, says Van Helbert. “We are in a neutral position and say that health care, police, education and defense should be well managed.

“These are the basic functions of government and we need to be prepared to invest in them. We are not a party that promises people a 0.1% or 0.2% increase in spending capacity. If there’s one thing we’ve learned from the coronavirus, it’s not just about money. “

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Election Interview: “Don’t wait for refugees to stand at the gate”

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