Campaign leaders reflect on European Parliament elections


On the morning after the elections, Dutch campaign leaders Benjamin van Es (VVD – Conservative Liberals – Renew Europe), Hielke Onnink (CDA – Christian Democrats – EPP), Wieke Paulusma (D66 – Liberal Democrats – Renew Europe), Laura Vissenberg (GroenLinks-PvdA – Alliance of the Greens and Labour – EGP and S&D), Tjeu Berlijn (BBB – Farmer-Citizen Movement – EPP), and Simone Borgstede (NSC – Social Conservatives – EPP) gathered in The Hague to review the recent campaign for the European Parliament elections at the invitation of the Machiavelli Foundation, which is dedicated to public communication. Led by Machiavelli board members Fons Lambie (RTL News) and Remco Meijer (Volkskrant), they discussed topics such as the initial election results for the various Dutch political parties, game changers during the campaign, and campaign strategies. Together, the campaign managers also drew valuable lessons for future campaigns.

The initial Dutch results from yesterday’s European Parliament elections show that the GroenLinks-PvdA alliance received the most votes. This alliance is expected to secure 8 of the 31 Dutch seats, a slight decrease from the current 9 seats. Geert Wilders’ Party for Freedom (PVV – right-wing – ID) is the biggest winner, increasing from 1 seat to 7 seats. Also, BBB (2 seats), D66 (3 seats), and CDA (3 seats) will be pleased, while VVD (4 seats) and NSC (1 seat) might have hoped for more. Voter turnout was 46.8%, the highest in 35 years for a European Parliament election in the Netherlands. The final results will be announced on Sunday evening, along with the results for the whole of Europe.

During the debate, D66 expressed satisfaction with the outcome and criticized the ‘inconsistent stance’ of the VVD in the Netherlands compared to their position in Europe. The VVD responded, claiming they had ‘never had a more pro-European narrative’ but acknowledged a slight loss of one seat and admitted they had hoped for better results. The CDA was pleased with the campaign and the three seats, considering it a relatively good outcome given the last national elections. BBB is also satisfied with two seats and secretly hopes for a third in the final results this weekend. Finally, Simone Borgstede (NSC) admitted that the elections might have come a bit too early for the relatively new party formed last August, which is still at a different organizational and capacity stage compared to the other parties at the debate. Nevertheless, NSC is happy with the seat in the European Parliament and sees it as a foothold.

Missed the debate? You can watch it again here (in Dutch).

The Machiavelli Foundation is dedicated to public communication. Public Matters has been the main sponsor of the Machiavelli Foundation since 2010.

“The campaign leaders discussed the first election results of the different parties, gamechangers during the campaign, and campaign strategies.”

Paul Schrama

Senior Account Executive

Public matters

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