EU Country Focus – THE NETHERLANDS: January – June 2016 PRESIDENCY OF THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION
The Netherlands Presidency work programme focuses on four key areas: migration and international security, sound finances and a robust eurozone, Europe as an innovator and job creator and forward-looking climate and energy policy.
The presidency wants an EU that focuses on what matters to Europe’s citizens and businesses, an EU that creates growth and jobs through innovation and connects with civil society. The presidency will promote action at EU level only if it is more effective than policies at national level.
What does the Netherlands want to achieve during its EU Presidency?
As EU Presidency holder, the Netherlands’ guiding principles are a Union that focuses on the essentials, a Union that focuses on growth and jobs through innovation, and a Union that connects with civil society. The Netherlands will be focusing on four priority areas:
The Netherlands wants the European Union to focus on what matters to Europe’s citizens and businesses. The priorities are prosperity, freedom and security. It does not want the EU to deal with issues that the member states can organise perfectly well themselves. Examples include health care, education, pensions and taxation.
Innovation, growth and jobs come first. To that end, Europe needs smarter rules – simplified rules that apply to all member states. That will reduce bureaucracy and costs for citizens, companies and public authorities alike.
It is important for citizens and civil society organisations to feel connected to Europe, and they will if they see the EU achieving results that matter. And if they can follow how the EU works.
In Europe we stand stronger together. There is more that unites us than divides us. That applies to trade, the environment, the climate, energy and, not least, our peace, security and prosperity.
The Dutch tradition of consultation and cooperation can accomplish a lot in Europe.