VVD members move: “With the VVD course you get tears in your eyes”

VVD’s profile is shrinking, and VVD themes threaten to be swept under the rug in government policy. In Rutte Vier’s coalition agreement, VVD has ‘simply surrendered too much’. A group of active VVD members no longer remain silent and step forward. The future of their party is at stake.

On topics such as asylum and migration and nitrogen ‘we no longer recognize VVD’. “It will bring tears to my eyes.” According to Reinier Geerligs. He speaks on behalf of the ‘Klassiek Liberaal’ group, more than a hundred active VVD members who are seriously concerned about the course of their party.

“Oxygen must be blown into VVD,” says Geerligs, a member of the core group of Klassiek Liberaal. Geerligs is 37 years old and works in the personnel sector. He lives in Rijssen, Overijssel.

‘Liberal core values ​​left’

Classical Liberals were founded two years ago because their party’s profile and visibility worried them. SYP WYNIA talks to Reinier Geerligs this episode from Wynia’s Week TV, too podcast

Normally, there is only a soft grumbling in the VVD ranks when party leader Mark Rutte has again given far-reaching concessions to other coalition parties (or to large countries within the EU). ‘Classic Liberal’ in VVD, a group of leaders, councilors and MPs, does not stop there. The VVD must return to its liberal roots, the ‘Themes on Frits Bolkestein’ must return to the agenda, and the VVD in the House of Representatives must take a critical, dualistic stance on the government’s policy.

The word ‘painful’ or even ‘extremely painful’ is repeatedly mentioned in the conversation with Reinier Geerligs. About what has been given away by the VVD in the coalition negotiations in the past year. About the farmers who switched from CDA to VVD and now switch to BoerBurgerBeweging by Caroline van der Plas.

‘What I notice is that many VVD members follow the government’s policy with suspicion,’ says Geerligs. ‘When it comes to the increased tax burden, migration, climate and nitrogen: all themes as we say: we hear too little from VVD. We are also an entrepreneurial party. But entrepreneurs have to pay for government spending. ‘

Cabinet dominated by D66

“VVD themes are in danger of being swept under the rug,” Geerligs says. ‘Now there is again an obligation to buy hybrid heat pumps in a few years. It’s a form of coercion. There is also coercion for municipalities that must give status holders priority over housing over citizens in the Netherlands. The compulsion is progressing more and more [in het kabinetsbeleid] and it is a development where we believe that VVD should play a much more active role, “says Geerligs. “We believe that the VVD should return to its liberal core values.”

Not only has too much been given in the coalition agreement, says Geerligs, but on far too many points, cabinet policy is dominated by D66 and D66 leader Sigrid Kaag. Frits Bolkestein was critical of [uitdijende] European Union. But what you’re noticing now is that VVD is following D66’s path. And the D66 in particular wants a lot of Europe. We want a sensible Europe. And no Eurobonds [EU-staatsleningen]†

‘Sigrid Kaag has a very dominant presence,’ says Geerligs. “She is finance minister but is involved in everything except finance. We see that D66 has a big finger in the game about where we want to go with Holland. ‘

‘The group is too docile’

Geerligs avoids personal criticism of party leader Mark Rutte and focuses mainly on the VVD’s parliamentary party. He is too docile, too invisible, too little critical of the Cabinet.

According to Geerligs, there is sufficient space for the governing party VVD to come up with its own plans: “The coalition agreement has been entered into in broad outline. The VVD party has every possible freedom to develop into an outboard motor of the cabinet. There must be much more dualism ‘.

Asylum: Denmark as an example

‘We lack a long-term vision,’ says Geerligs. ‘Where will Holland be in thirty years?’ Again, he cites Frits Bolkestein, successful party leader in the 1990s, as an example. “He said more than thirty years ago: We need to be careful about migration policy. VVD was a leader in this. Not now. Too few.’ If it stood for Classical Liberal, the Netherlands would take an example of the migration area from a country like Denmark, which wants asylum seekers to report and be selected not in Europe, but in (African) Rwanda.

Geerligs is worried about the future of VVD. “The Labor Party was also largest. The CDA was the largest. There is also a chance for VVD that you will be the greatest for a long time and then go under. That VVD has been the largest for so long is in itself a great achievement. But it is precisely then that oxygen must be constantly blown into the party. It requires debate, and it requires courage. ‘

The VVD after Rutte

What is VVD after Rutte? Geerligs: ‘I do not have a crystal ball. But that’s why we’re here. We make sure that our sound is heard. We have good contacts in the party, all over the country. We will make proposals to the general meeting. ‘

‘Why we want Bolkestein’s VVD back is also the need for foresight,’ says Geerligs. Bolkestein remained in the house as VVD’s face. Sophie Hermans, the current VVD party leader, must take on the role of Bolkestein. ‘She has to do it. We would like to see more vision from her. What does Sophie Hermans want with VVD? ‘

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