Before we look ahead at the current landscape, may I attempt to put a bow on the events that transpired leading up to the March 15 elections.
There was a lot of concern mounting as Geert Wilders held a lead in polls for most of the year leading up to the elections.
As we learned observing the US elections, the polls don't always tell the full story, but is there a reason we can assess where the sampling went wrong in this instance?
And is there a specific point in the campaign where we can identify when the margins narrowed?
Dutch Labour's fall from grace is a result of the fact that they abandoned their ideology and became too managerial, in the same way the European centre left is slowly being eroded, really since Tony Blair's downfall and along with the bankruptcies of the welfare states they wrongly claimed to be sustainable.
Wilders did indeed come second and still did proceed, but much less than the polls indicated for the last 2 years, mainly as a result of the mainstream taking over some of his euroscepticism and criticism towards unrestricted migration. This was a good response, largely, given that there are some real issues that needed to be addressed, as for example problematic integration leading to terrorist attacks and the refugee chaos during 2015-2016. There are liberal solutions as an alternative to the far right recipes of Wilders.
Wilders has softened his tone since the elections but I suspect he has separated himself too much now from the mainstream so maybe a new party can fill this gap.
Regarding those liberal solutions you mention, to the issues highlighted by the far-right candidates, do you believe that is how politicians should be countering populist candidates in upcoming elections? And what should we be keeping an eye on as we look ahead to 2017 elections in France & Germany?
Examples of those liberal solutions are for example to take action against those who have been denied asylum but nevertheless ignore orders to leave (that's also unfair to those asylum seekers who respect the rules), tackling lawlessness in dodgy areas where poorer people live and liberalising labour market rules and high taxes on labour as this destroys jobs, certainly for those with poor language skills, which as a result complicates their integration into society.
As for the elections in France, it will be interesting to see if far right politician Marine Le Pen makes it into the second round. If she then would face independent centrist Emmanuel Macron, one risk could be that he would be perceived as someone representing the status quo, especially as he's now being endorsed by politicians from President Hollande's socialist party.
In Germany, we'll likely see either a new big coalition of christian democrats and social democrats, with the real question being whether Merkel or Martin Schulz' formation will come first and deliver the Chancellor. A small chance is a coalition with Schulz including greens and far left or one with Merkel including greens and liberal. The rightwing populist AfD has lost support but is still quite certain to enter the Bundestag, all a result of Merkel's turn to the left.