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Will the Dutch be next to quit the EU?

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Ask yourself who, if anyone, will be the next EU member to bail out, says Ayaan Hirsi Ali in UnHerd. The bookies make Italy the favourite (3-1), followed by Greece (6-1) and France (8-1). But my money’s on the Netherlands (12-1) – and, as a former Dutch MP, I should know. In 2018 the Netherlands contributed €4.85bn to the EU, but received back only €2.47bn from Brussels. And the “notoriously frugal” Dutch are increasingly miffed about “scandalous” EU spending. Our dowdy politicians make do on “modest sandwiches”, but in Brussels a lavish “working” lunch begins as early as 11.30am, with “bottle after bottle of wine”, and goes on until 3.30pm.

The Netherlands is the largest net contributor to the EU budget per capita. What are we paying for? We don’t have the last word on immigration, terrorism or agriculture. Migrant crossings from Africa are ramping up again after a pandemic lull, meaning borders will be a bigger issue. True, Nexit seems more impractical than Brexit: Britain never joined the euro and is the world’s sixth largest economy, while the Netherlands is a lowly 17th. But a larger proportion of the Dutch are dissatisfied (43%) with the EU than satisfied (37%). Everyone forgets how unlikely Brexit seemed before the first “stunning” results from Sunderland, and “nimble” Britain has had a big win on vaccines. “Don’t rule it out.”

Read the full article here.