Frans Timmermans: “Diversity Gives Us So Much Strength”

Frans Timmermans is a Dutch politician and an EU apparatchik. He is currently a member of the Politburo — I mean European Commission — and hopes the become General Secretary of the Party. Whoops! Did I really say that?? I meant: President of the European Commission.

In the following interview, Mr. Timmermans discusses Brexit, EU-skepticism, and other annoying forms of interference with those dedicated functionaries in Brussels who toil daily to fix all of Europe’s problems — especially the problem of people who don’t like being told what to do by Brussels.

Many thanks to C for the translation, and to Vlad Tepes for the subtitling:

Video transcript:

00:00   But the big picture, what about other countries? —In many other countries, the sentiment is…
00:04   in some countries, the Netherlands too, there were sentiments,
00:08   partly a sentiment of “Maybe we should leave the EU, too.”
00:12   That idea is gone in most countries. You see,
00:16   well, if we focus on the Netherlands for a moment, the FvD [Forum for Democracy] has burst
00:20   onto the scene. they are strongly in favor of a Nexit. —Is that right? Because I find it confusing.
00:26   Yes, there is some confusion, but their overall position is Eurosceptic.
00:30   Yes, but they need to have a clear message for their voters, because,
00:34   I’ve always heard [FvD’s] Mr Baudet say, “We want out, because the EU can’t be reformed.”
00:42   And the head of his party says he first wants to try and reform the EU. So that’s a mixed message
00:46   for the voter. —Yes, but they are Eurosceptic. —They are,
00:50   and more European parties are Eurosceptic, but all I wanted to say,
00:54   on the spectrum from very pro-EU to very Eurosceptic, that whole spectrum
00:58   will be represented in European Parliament.
01:03   But going a step further and decide to leave the EU, I almost never hear that anymore.
01:08   But let’s discuss your tour. It’s been called the Tour de France. Do you encounter much resistance
01:13   and aversion towards Europe? Because you’re meeting all these people now.
01:18   Yes, five years ago it was actually more polarized. People would say,
01:22   I’m against Europe, or: I’m all for Europe!
01:26   Now people talk about concrete subjects. They’ll say…
01:30   a subject I also bring up in Amsterdam, because I encounter it
01:34   all over Europe, is: “We can’t find affordable housing anymore.
01:38   Our children can’t stay and live in their own city. Unless they stay with their parents.
01:42   35 years old and still living with their parents! Can’t Europe do something about that? We worry
01:47   about the future of our pensions”. That’ll be an issue here. That’s an issue all over Europe.
01:51   What should Europe do? How can the euro contribute, or why is the euro, maybe.
01:57   People see the direct connection with their own lives much more nowadays.
02:00   OK. But how do you explain then that Eurosceptic parties are growing everywhere?
02:04   If we look at Italy, Marine le Pen in France, resistance by Eastern European countries,
02:09   AfD in Germany, Farage with his Brexit party in the UK.
02:13   And the rise of the FvD [in the Netherlands].
02:16   I think that, first, there’s the realization, almost everywhere in my experience,
02:20   that we’re all in the same boat as Europeans.
02:23   And if you’re optimistic about the future, then together in a boat means:
02:29   OK, then we can deal with these problems together with other Europeans; we’ll be in a stronger
02:32   position than when it’s every man for himself. But there are also many people in Europe who say:
02:35   Oh dear, I’m in a boat with people I don’t really trust; they may not consider my interests.
02:42   And then politicians come along who say, “We’ll make our own little boat;
02:45   we’ll get out of the big boat”.
02:48   And that is attractive for some people. And that’s a political proposition.
02:54   But there are real problems that these people are confronted with?
02:58   That’s not the issue. The question is: real problems, for example
03:04   large companies that pay no tax, or only very little,
03:10   that bothers people, when they have to pay a lot of tax. And there are
03:14   many other problems. But the question is, how do we solve them?
03:18   Does it solve anything if we retreat behind our borders?
03:21   Does it solve anything if we get out of the EU?
03:24   I’d say, look at Brexit. Does it really yield any benefits? Or should we try to reform the EU?
03:31   Ourselves! To make it better, to make it stronger, so that it yields a fairer society.
03:36   If I may interrupt: The impression many people have is that all decisions are made over there
03:40   in Brussels; we don’t have any say in it. If I may give an example, here in the Netherlands.
03:47   a majority in parliament wants a visa restriction for Albanians,
03:50   because of Eastern European and Albanian mafias,
03:53   which cause a lot of problems here, but the European Commission says: Albania meets the criteria
04:01   for the suspension of visa restrictions. In short, we have a problem and Europe
04:05   decides [against our interests]. And that is the impression a lot of people have.
04:08   We can’t decide anything without member states.
04:11   The member states all have a seat at the table. That game, distancing yourself from a decision
04:15   when it doesn’t turn out the way you’d like to see, I don’t fall for that.
04:20   All member states have a seat at the table. —But the Netherlands has a problem now.
04:25   We can make a proposal, but we can never decide. That’s up to the member states and the
04:28   European Parliament together. And if the Netherlands has a problem, it can be brought up
04:32   in Brussels. The commission won’t dismiss it; we’ll have a discussion. And if
04:36   other member states, like Germany and others, have the same problem, we’ll work out a solution.
04:40   But people feel this way. People have the feeling: we have all these problems,
04:44   and far-away Brussels is going to decide everything,
04:48   and we lose our own identity. You must have encountered this on your tour. —Yes.
04:53   Now you link it with identity, and that’s exactly what
04:58   I worry about most, that we link politics and identity.
05:04   Because then it’ll boil down to “we can only be happy in a country
05:08   where we all look the same and are all called Klaas,”
05:11   if you take that to its logical extreme. Look, take this city as an example.
05:16   We’re a society in which we have to learn to deal with many differences, and you can’t
05:22   learn to deal with these differences if you exclude some people, or say, ‘My way or the highway.’
05:26   And the EU is like that too. It’ll never be 100% how you want it,
05:30   but you can exert influence and together arrive at a compromise.
05:34   A divided society won’t. —What are you planning to do? What will you do
05:38   different from what Juncker did, to get those citizens together, because,
05:41   one way or the other, this polarization exist, and you see these groups
05:45   grow apart, it must worry you. —Yes, very much so… — So what will
05:49   you do differently? —…if we don’t do anything about this. One of the things I’d like to do is
05:53   to show, on a daily basis, that the whole spectrum of people want
05:57   to keep the EU going, but in different ways,
06:01   that this is clearly represented in the European Commission, that everyone can identify with it.
06:05   So that people see “Maybe I don’t always get my way, but I have influence.
06:09   And I know I have a voice in this.”
06:12   That national politicians say this clearly too, that we need the EU to deal with certain issues.
06:19   You’ve seen this the last few years in the Netherlands too, right? For more issues we
06:22   have to say, we can’t take care of this without the EU.
06:25   But as long as it seems so distant to people, as long as we can’t
06:29   make clear they have direct influence themselves,
06:32   as long as we can’t show with concrete policy. If we can show that, for example,
06:36   that we as Europeans together can agree on a minimum European corporate tax, so that
06:41   big companies that are more powerful than EU member states
06:45   can’t be active in a country without paying taxes, if Europe can show
06:49   it can do something about that, then people will say: hey, it has.
06:52   OK, concrete measures. But isn’t attitude in the debate also relevant? You dismissed
06:57   your fellow politician Baudet as an idiot. That happened during a Labour meeting,
07:03   in Rotterdam on March 16; is that constructive in the context of polarization?
07:08   In my opinion, a debate can be harsh. They have harsh words for me all the time as well.
07:13   I have no problem with harsh debates; let’s not mince words.
07:18   But what about their voters? —I find that funny. When a left-wing politician is attacked,
07:24   nobody ever says, “That’s insulting his voters, too.”
07:30   Only when people like him are attacked, then suddenly his voters are offended.
07:34   Well, I don’t know. —It’s not a big deal. It’s a non-issue.
07:37   The issue is just… what makes me angry is his expression “homeopathic dilution
07:42   [of the native population].” That’s what made me angry.
07:48   That’s an idiotic statement, that’s what I should have said, not the way I said it then.
07:52   Because we… aren’t we a society that is forever changing, that is very diverse?
07:56   That diversity gives us so much strength, such wealth.
08:01   Are we going to pretend that we can turn back the clock?
08:04   That’s no use to anyone; that’s wasted energy.
08:07   Find strength in the diversity we have. Build a stronger society out of that.
08:13   And then Baudet, also from his ideology and philosophy, can work towards
08:17   a better society. He doesn’t need to divide that society for that.
08:22   Yes, let’s talk about that. And a fierce debate is all right with me.
08:27   If you become the head of the commission, you’ll have to build bridges
08:32   between these two parties, these schools of thought, also in other countries.
08:38   Could your future be uncertain, given that government leaders could make a different
08:42   choice, and prefer [PM] Rutte for this position?
08:45   Anything can happen. What I try to do is present the social democratic plan
08:51   for Europe. In my experience, there’s a lot of interest.
08:58   we’re a political force to be reckoned with in Europe. On the other hand,
09:02   the time that two forces dominated in the EU is gone forever.
09:05   In that respect, the EU is more similar to the Netherlands now. Larger, broader coalitions
09:08   are required to govern. I try to create a Europe that is as progressive as possible.
09:13   I would not ally with right-wing extremist parties. Some Christian Democrats
09:17   are undecided on that; I wouldn’t do that.
09:20   I will try to realize a progressive majority in the European Parliament.
09:23   Thank you very much for this interview.

12 thoughts on “Frans Timmermans: “Diversity Gives Us So Much Strength”

  1. “Diversity gives us so much strength.” Give me strength!

    ‘Diversity gives us strength.’ In what way does it give us strength?

    This statement is a a lefty catechism, smoke and mirrors, emotional blackmail. And ask any establishment politician to explain precisely what it means and s/he’ll run a mile.

    The subliminal message is that racially and culturally diverse communities are somehow ‘better’ than homogeneous communities – but it’s never articulated in such a way that one can get to grips with it.

    But the reality of the position of all these establishment mouthpieces can be found in the manner in which they live their own lives – for instance, Timmermans, how close does the neighbourhood in which he chooses to live match the ‘diversity’ that he proclaims to love so much?

    • My opinion is that it’s a mistake to shrug off these communists on the grounds that they game the system for material benefits for themselves. I postulate that forced to make a choice, they will choose to destroy themselves and their families and offspring rather than give up their dreams of destroying the current culture and civilization.

      So far, they have been having their cake and eating it too: they are effecting the destruction of European nationhood and civilization while maintaining high salaries and powerful positions for themselves. But, they are consigning their children to a degenerate, primitive existence and don’t care. And they would put themselves into uncomfortable circumstances if that was required for them to continue their mission of the destruction of Europe.

      • Common hate trumps mutual contempt: Islam is contemptuous of the left but is happy to go along with the left’s hatred of Western culture.

  2. My overall impression is that Timmermans attended the same classes in logic at the formerly-reputable college, Boston University, that Alexandria Cortez attended.

    So, let’s examine his logic on our own.
    Europeans see problems in their own countries: unaffordable housing, low wages, the fact that some corporations are not taxed at high enough rates, pension reserve funds being drained off threatening their retirement. Not mentioned is rampant crime, no-go zones, systematic suppression of freedom of speech. Anyway, Timmermans says these problems are more likely to be solved by a huge conglomerate of diverse, irreconcilable interests called the European Union. The EU, by having representatives of all political, economic, and national viewpoints, however contradictory to each other, is more likely to satisfy each country than their own representatives accountable only to their own country.

    Of course, the dissolving of national racial identities is resolved with a wave of the hand. Diversity so “today”. Those who are against immigrants on a basic of racial and cultural identity are simply so gauche as to not merit even discussion using what Timmermans poses as logic. It’s time to get with the program.

    As far as pensions, salaries, affordable housing: the EU is much more likely to pull resources out of the sky than down-to-earth local and national governments, which are limited to only spending which is funded by taxes. On the other hand, the EU can control the Euro through a consortium of international bankers, all altruists, and has no limitations on spending whatsoever…like the US Federal Reserve.

    So, Timmermans arguments boil down to cult theology: you have problems, so rather than work to solve them yourselves, push them off on a higher power which hears your prayers and may or may not respond.

  3. Diversity has surely strengthened Sweden [1].

    So the only question which remains is: Who are “we”?

    [1] Fler sprängningar i år


    Last night, a major explosion occurred in central Malmö. The night before, a strong explosion occurred in central Norrköping. During the first three months of this year, 48 blasts have occurred in Sweden, according to statistics from the Crime Prevention Council, Brå.


    During the same quarter of 2018, 37 blasts occurred, according to statistics from Brå about reported offenses. An increase of 11 cases during the first quarter of 2019. And it is mainly in the metropolitan regions that most blasting takes place.

    The blasts are classified as general hazardous destruction, by blasting and last year, 162 cases were reported. Of these, 47 occurred in the Stockholm region and 56 in the southern region, which includes Malmö.

    According to the police, several different types of explosives are used. In 2016, the police found that hand grenades were used on four occasions, and in 2017 heavy bangers were used, for example of the Cobra 8 type on 15 occasions.

    The strength of the explosions differs. The night’s explosion in Malmö was, however, strong, according to Henrik Mårtensson, external officer at the Malmö police.

    – There are many windows that are crushed in connection with this detonation. Also boxes on cars that have been mated next to. So it has been a powerful detonation, says Henrik Mårtensson, external officer at the Malmö police.

    However, the increase during the first three months of the year compared to the same period last year is not the whole picture: In Malmö, the number of reported events where explosives have been used has decreased from 62 cases in 2016 to 45 cases in 2018.

  4. “…we’re all in the same boat as Europeans”. The boat is sinking, which is why some of us want to disembark!

  5. Every word that comes out of Timmermans mouth is misleading, disingenuous, deceitful or dangerous. The above speech is all of those in spades. Recently he was agitating to harmonise wages in the car industry, equal pay for equal work he called it. Like a company director looking for a pay rise he wanted everybody to be paid as much as the highest paid in Europe irrespective of the local cost of living. He did not consider the alternative which would be reducing wages to the level of the lowest paid.

    • The larger the region of a government, the more unresponsive to actual circumstances it is. This was the basis of the anti-Federalists, who opposed the adoption of the US Constitution, correctly noting the autonomous state governments would be sucked into federal jurisdiction.

      The appeal of the globalists is that they promise local benefits, and pretend the costs are distributed among the entire region, and thus are invisible to the local beneficiaries. This is the logic that Alexandria Cortez used in opposing the entry of Amazon into New York. She got into trouble because the immediate effects of her intervention were so localized as to be obvious to her voters. Once she learns to simply implement federal communist programs and leave her district alone, the devastating effects of her policies will not be so obvious.

      Bernie Sanders has learned this trick well.

  6. The countries that need strengthening are in Africa and the Middle East. They could use the magic formula of diversity. Is Timmermanns not interested in helping these people?

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