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(10/09/09) -

Dutch Back PM Balkenende as EU President

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) – Most people in the Netherlands would support current head of government Jan Peter Balkenende becoming president of the European Council, according to a poll by TNS Nipo. 58 per cent of respondents share this opinion, while 37 per cent are opposed.

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) – Most people in the Netherlands would support current head of government Jan Peter Balkenende becoming president of the European Council, according to a poll by TNS Nipo. 58 per cent of respondents share this opinion, while 37 per cent are opposed.

Dutch voters renewed the Second Chamber in November 2006. The governing Christian-Democratic Appeal (CDA) led by current minister president Balkenende secured 41 out of 150 seats. In February 2007, a coalition encompassing the CDA, the Labour Party (PvdA) of Wouter Bos, and the Christian Union (CU) of Andre Rouvouet was assembled.

A new common European body of law, known as the Lisbon Treaty, has been ratified by most of the 27 members of the European Union (EU). The document’s provisions call for the creation of new posts, such as a foreign policy chief, and a High Representative who will answer to EU governments and serve as vice-president of the European Commission.

Under the terms of the Lisbon Treaty, EU leaders would also choose a president of the European Council for a two and a half year renewable term. This will effectively eliminate the current six-month rotating presidency among member nations.

Last month, Dutch media outlets reported that Balkenende was being considered for the job of European Council president.

On Sept. 17, Balkenende said the rumours about his potential nomination were "rubbish."

On Oct. 4, European minister Frans Timmermans said no Dutch national, including the current minister president, will be considered for the job.

The European Council is expected to make a final decision on Oct. 30.

Polling Data

Would you support or oppose Jan Peter Balkenende becoming president of the European Council?

Support

58%

Oppose

37%

Not sure

5%

Source: TNS Nipo
Methodology: Interviews with 653 Dutch adults, conducted on Sept. 29, 2009. No margin of error was provided.