In my effort to get the real world out there somewhere a little bit involved in this Community, I have also tried to contact a number of Dutch politicians with European ambitions and get them to answer some of the questions I am asking to my fellow Dutch citizens. Some e-mailed me back stating they were too busy to answer my request, the most did not reply at all and others where very quick to respond. My special thanks go out to Wim van de Camp who notified me immediately of the fact that I had forgotten to attach the actual questions. The first to hand in a completed set of questions was MP Hans van Baalen; the result of which you find below.
NB. While reading please note that the following article is the result of a translating (original language: Dutch) and editing (as little as possible) process by me, the author, of the original e-mails sent.
Sent: Tue 17-2-2009 22:33
Subject: A couple of Questions
Dear Mr. Van Baalen,
My name is Mats Siffels. I am studying European Studies in Maastricht and I am currently active for the blogging-community Think About It; a community initiated by the European Journalism Centre in cooperation with the European Commission meant to create an online buzz concering the upcoming elections for the European Parliament, inspired by the important role the blogs have played in the American elections.
In my blog I am planning to present a number of portraits of the people on the street and their perception of the European Union and the European Parliament, however, I would also like to include some of the involved politicians.
Attached you will find a list of questions, I would really appreciate it if you could answer them briefly but comprehensive; lively phrases.
My last question for you is if you could attach a picture of yourself I could use in the article. Preferably not an official press photo, but a little bit more personal; the best would be a picture made at the moment you are answering these questions.
I would like to thank you in advance for your cooperation,
From: Baalen van Hans [***@tweedekamer.nl]
Sent: wed 18-2-2009 9:58
Subject: FWD: A couple of Questions
4 introductory questions in order to avoid having to consult Wikipedia:
1. Name: Hans van Baalen
2. Age: 48
3. Occupation: MP for the VVD and party leader for the European elections
About the EU:
1. What did you vote in the referendum on a European Constitution?
2. Shortly name 5 advantages of the EU.
Internal market, free competition, Euro, European Central Bank, Stabilitypact, Cooperation police and justice
3. Shortly name 5 disadvantages of the EU.
Gap between EU and the citizens, bureaucracy, meddlesome concerning non-bordercrossing issues, regulations contain too much details, no single [European, Ed.] voice in foreign affairs
4. What are you going to do on the 4th of June?
I will vote
5. What do you expect will be the ‘hot issues’ during the EP elections?
The economical crisis.
6. What do you personally think the ‘hot issues’ should be?
Promotion of the Dutch national interests, the economical crisis (keep the internal market free) and security (cross-border cooperation police, justice, immigration and asylum, energy)
7. On a scale from 1 to 10, how important is the European Union for you?
Mr Drs J.C. van Baalen
2500 EA Den Haag
Hans van Baalen MP
VVD Parliamentary Group
P.O. box ***
2500 EA The Hague, The Netherlands