Brussels and Maastricht, 18 December 2021
- The new Dutch government’s European vision, while lacking ambition in certain areas like fiscal policy, lays out several much-needed proposals for EU reform in terms of external action, fundamental values protection and democratic deficit reduction.
- The proposals support the growing momentum for EU reform following the German government’s commitment to a federal Europe and amid the ongoing Conference on the Future of Europe.
- JEF Europe and JEF Netherlands call for a new constituent process ahead of the 2024 European elections to bring us closer to a democratic European Federation.
On Monday, the centre-right VVD and CDA, conservative ChristenUnie, and progressive D66 reached an agreement allowing the Netherlands to form a government 271 days after the parliamentary elections in March 2021; the new cabinet will be sworn in in the second week of January 2022. The coalition has presented a vision for reforming the EU reflecting a greater commitment to Europe than previous Dutch governments.
Importantly, the new government sees the ongoing Conference on the Future of Europe (CoFoE) as an opportunity to amend EU Treaties, which is necessary to implement most of its vision. This treaty change, however, is made conditional on being “in the interest of the Netherlands and the EU”.
“A Union able to face internal and global issues, to ensure economic stability, but also to invest in the next generations and to defend democracy and the rule of law is in the interest of every Dutch and European citizen; so our answer is yes, treaty change is needed now” comments Helena Robert i Campos, Executive Board member of JEF Europe.
While lacking ambition in certain areas, the EU vision of the Dutch Government brings hope for a broader momentum for EU reform created by the CoFoE and the recent declaration of the new German government to work towards a European Federation.
The four Dutch parties want a strategically autonomous EU that is more decisive, economically stronger, safer and greener. Rightly acknowledging that the EU brings peace, security and prosperity to the Netherlands, they call for strengthening the Union’s external action. In this regard, the coalition commits to working towards abolishing unanimous decision-making in relation to sanctions, human rights violations and civilian missions.
“This is a welcome first step but it lacks ambition. The EU deserves a genuine foreign policy to confidently play its role in global affairs, facing the Chinese and Russian governments. Problems are identified, but not the means to solve them” comments Thilo Buchholz, President of JEF Netherlands.
Referring to the EU as a community of values, the Dutch government stresses the necessity to better protect the rule of law and democratic principles across the Union. With a view of strengthening the EU’s internal democracy, it supports giving the European Parliament the power to dismiss individual European Commissioners. In a rather indecisive tone, the coalition agreement also commits to improving the Spitzenkandidaten system.
“There is definitely room for a more ambitious European vision, especially in the area of taxes which, unlike the four-party agreement says, should be partially collected at the European level as a cornerstone of a Fiscal Union built on the principle of subsidiarity” continues Robert i Campos.
Building on the momentum created by CoFoE and welcoming recent appeals for EU reform from a growing number of capitals, JEF Europe and JEF Netherlands call for a new constituent process ahead of the 2024 European elections to bring us closer to the democratic European Federation we deserve!
About JEF Europe
The Young European Federalists (JEF Europe) is a political youth NGO advocating for the creation of a democratic European federation as a guarantee for peace, the rule of law and human rights. JEF Europe promotes true European citizenship, works for the widening and deepening of the European Union and strives for a more just and integrated society on the European continent. Established in 1972, the organisation has more than 10,000 activists organised in over 250 national, regional and local sections in 31 countries. The ideals and aims of JEF Europe are defined in the Manifesto of Ventotene, the Political Platform and resolutions adopted by its statutory bodies.
About JEF Netherlands
Jonge Europese Federalisten Nederland (JEF Netherlands) is a political youth NGO, member of JEF Europe, advocating for a federalist approach to Europe by the Netherlands. Present all over the country and with a local section in Maastricht, JEF Netherlands is committed to bringing the EU close to people regardless of their background by offering an active citizenship platform for Dutch and international youth. Through the organisation of events, campaigns and the writing of press releases on European issues, JEF Netherlands is contributing to the public debate around Europe in the Netherlands.
Helena Robert i Campos
Executive Board member
Young European Federalists
Rue d’Arlon 53, 1040 Brussels
Thilo Buchholz, President
Jonge Europese Federalisten Nederland