The Dutch party and movement Denk is making its debut in the European Parliament elections with an inclusive agenda of fair distribution of refugees, an anti-racism tax law and countering Euroscepticism.

The European Union Parliament elections started yesterday and will continue until this Sunday.

Hundreds of parties from 28 EU member states have fielded their candidates for 751 seats in the parliament.

While the spotlight is on far-right and Eurosceptic parties, and how they will perform in the elections, there are so-called ‘minority parties’ in the fray as well.

One of them is the Dutch Party or Denk Movement. Denk means ‘think’ in Dutch and ‘equality’ in Turkish.

The party was founded in February 2015, after two parliamentarians, Tunahan Kuzu and Selcuk Ozturk of the Dutch National Assembly, resigned from the Labour Party in November 2015.

Consolidation of the party in 2017 Dutch elections

"New Netherlands received a vote in the Lower House today," said group leader Kuzu after his brand new Denk party won three seats in the national assembly. Respect for all Dutch people and vigorously fighting discrimination are the founding principles of the party, according to a Dutch newspaper

The party received 2.1 percent of the vote in the 2017 Dutch national elections, and three of its candidates entered parliament. The two former Labour Party MP’s could re-enter the parliament under the Denk Party. The party won a third seat and its third MP became Farid Azarkan.

Since then the party's vote share increased to 12 percent, covering different regions of the Netherlands. It's fast becoming popular among Dutch citizens born to immigrant parents. 

With more than 3,000 members, the party espouses the ideas of multiculturalism, social democracy and minority rights.

"The turnout at these elections is always quite low in the Netherlands. It is therefore important that the turnout of the people who support DENK does not decrease," party spokesperson Serkan Soytekin tells TRT World

In its manifesto, the party says it stands "for intercultural awareness", calls for explicit recognition and apologies for Europe's colonial and slavery past and for measures to improve the lives of people of African origin in Europe. 

The campaign for the European Parliament elections 

The party has fielded candidates for 26 parliamentary seats available for Dutch parties. Full of enthusiasm, spokesperson Soytekin tells TRT World that the party stands for "a fair and just society." "In Europe, too, we will make this sound heard."

"Of course, we are very concerned about the rise of right-wing extremist parties. The hatred of, for example, Muslims and foreigners. Problems are now only mentioned when it comes to migrant groups, while these people make a huge contribution to Europe's prosperity," Mr Soytekin adds.

The major obstacle however is that every party needs four percent of votes to have a candidate send to Brussels and Strasbourg. 

Since there are only 26 seats available for all Dutch parties, the Denk needs more than four percent to be represented. 

The Denk is recognised as a political force that is pro-asylum, pro-European and anti-racism.

As Europe's main issues, Mr Soytekin thinks are the "emerging right-wing extremism" and "climate and its costs [of fairer distribution]."

For the EP elections, it promises more resources for the European Court of Human Rights and favours introducing a “European Anti-racism Tax (EART)” and a “human European migration policy”. 

It also appeals for a “fair distribution of refugees across Europe” and for “severe punishments for EU members states who unjustly close their borders to refugees as Hungary”.

Source: TRT World