Jesse Klaver (L) and Frans Timmermans (R) of GroenLinks-PvdA list attend a debate. EPA-EFE/SEM VAN DER WAL


Dutch Green councillor sues own party over EU alliance with Labour


A local councillor in the Netherlands is taking his own Green party to court, over its alliance with Labour ahead of June 2024’s European Parliament elections.

Ashley North, a Leiden councillor and GroenLinks (Green Party) member, opposes how MEPs on the joint list will be divided between Labour and Greens, saying they should all join the Greens.

Along with 181 others, he asked the court for a referendum on the matter, the Telegraaf reports.

Under the current arrangement, the parties will join the European elections on one list, but when the results are in, the elected politicians will go to the faction of their original party, the Green or the Socialist one.

Both Bas Eickhout of the Green Party (GL) and Mohammed Chahim of Labour (PvdA), who have top spots on the unified list, also have the top Dutch spots for their respective European Parliament groups, the Greens/EFA and Socialists & Democrats.

The two Dutch parties say they don’t have any intention to change their cooperation plans.

Katinka Eikelenboom, a spokeswoman for the Dutch Greens, says “It is indeed a conscious decision that we want to start dividing our knowledge between two groups,” and she expects a positive outcome.

According to her, members already expressed their views on the issue in an earlier referendum on cooperation, where 88 per cent of the members of the PvdA party and 92 per cent of the Green Left Party voted in favour of a joint GL/PvdA list.

“The GL party leadership appreciates the involvement of members, but finds it unfortunate that a member from this group is now going to court, instead of going through the internal procedure by going to the dispute and appeal committee,” said Eikelenboom.

However, North says he and the others made extensive efforts to resolve the issue internally. “For months, we tried to resolve it internally. But unfortunately that did not succeed and that is why we are now going to court,” he says.

If the court approves the councillor’s request, the GL constituency will need to hold a referendum on the matter. However, this process will only involve the Greens and not  the PvdA, as it is a different party association with different rules.

Previously, former PvdA party head Lutz Jacobi had also expressed his disapproval, calling the combination a “dead end.”

In late 2023 other issues also surfaced dividing the two parties, with Greens more opposed to the monarchy and Labour more outspoken in condemnation of the Hamas attacks of October 7.