Sophie in 't Veld seems to have activated the auto-destruct button. EPA-EFE/OLIVIER HOSLET


Dutch MEP in ‘t Veld may have hit the end of the political road


When Dutch MEP Sophie in ‘t Veld left the progressive Left D66 party she intended to join the Euro-minded Volt Party.

But, in an ironic turn of events, Volt has rejected her candidacy for the European Union elections next year, which might prove the final nail in the coffin for the 60-year-old’s European Parliament career.

Less than a month ago, on June 16, the politician announced she had quit her national party D66 in frustration at its stance on Europe and joined the pan-EU federalist party Volt.

She accused her former party of being too narrowly focused on Dutch domestic politics at the expense of EU politics, while also expressing dissatisfaction with how the party dealt with what she called “transgressive behaviour”.

But now it turns out that in ‘t Veld needed special dispensation to become a candidate for Volt in the upcoming elections, as she didn’t meet the required formal demand of a minimum three-month membership. The party has refused this special permission.

Contacted by Brussels Signal, an in ‘t Veld spokesman, who sounded somewhat shaken by the events, said the procedure regarding special permission was already known but the outcome had come as something of a shock. Asked if there was a reason given for the rejection, he simply said the reply from Volt was “rather brief”.

Volt board co-chair Rob Keijers wrote in a letter to members: “We have received a lot of WhatsApp messages, e-mails, calls, Workplace messages and letters in which Volt NL members shared their concerns about how we would deal with the possibility of granting dispensation.”

A Volt spokesman subsequently told Brussels Signal that its internal regulations have some necessary conditions that must be met. One of those is the said three-month membership.

“There is the possibility of a dispensation request,” he added. “Two people made such a request and the party leadership has rejected those in both instances.

“Dispensation allows the board to place someone above the rules at its discretion. Therefore, this is a tool we use very cautiously,” the spokesman added. He pointed out that the necessary conditions exist in order that “representatives can bond with the party and its members, ideology, and culture”.

“We take fulfilling such criteria all the more seriously because we as Volt have made a promise – to Europe, to the Netherlands, and to each other – that we are the bringers of new politics,” he said.

“We must and want to fulfil that promise every day. Besides, we have a lot of political talent in-house, people who have put their heart and soul into Volt and cannot wait to bring our new politics to the EP as well.”

Asked who would lead the party in the upcoming European elections, he said Volt’s candidate commission was working on the selection procedure for the electoral list.

“Of course, the recent fall of the Dutch cabinet has affected this process and planning,” the spokesman said. “This is now being mapped out. Ultimately, members will vote on who should become our head of the list.”

Regardless of the outcome, many say the rejection by Volt means chances are looking slim that in ‘t Veld can add another four years to her current parliamentary stint.

She has been an MEP since 2004, re-elected in 2009, 2014 and 2019. She was also her party’s top candidate for the three elections and had been the D66 leader in the European Parliament since her first election. In’t Veld had a self-appointed mission to build an ever stronger EU.

She would have been a prominent figure in Volt, a party that can boast few high-profile figures, perhaps underscoring how remarkable its rejection is.