Or that is what he said as he arrived in Brussels for what will be his last EUnion 'summit', starting tomorrow. According to Elsevier a lot of fellow EUrocrats are loath to see him go. Angela Merkel, Germany's Bundeskanzlerin, said Balkenende did much for 'Europe'.
He is a convinced European. He did a lot for good relations between Germany and Holland. We agreed on a lot of things.Luxembourg's PM, and fellow 'convinced European' Jean-Claude Juncker goes even further and said that JP Balkenende 'would have made a good president of the European Union'.
In the aftermath of the general elections the MSM and CDA big whigs are wondering why the result was so atrocious for the christian democrats. What on earth could have moved the electorate to desert the once great Dutch political centre of gravity?
As I see it, the praise received by our intrepid erstwhile PM is as good a clue as any. Jan Peter Balkenende was almost single-handedly responsible for sweeping the referendum result under the rug and sell us The Turnip as something completely different from the monstrosity we voted off. And as it turns out, the electorate has a longer memory then most politicians give it credit for.
Merkel and Juncker point out exactly what is the problem, Balkenende is one of 'them', not one of us. And we don't want more of 'them'. We want less of them. Actually, we want none them.
Jan Peter Balkenende has left the political stage in abject defeat and humiliation. But he escaped alive and otherwise unharmed. When one takes history as a yardstick, Balkenende should be counting his blessings and thank God he got out in time.