Baku. 1 January. REPORT.AZ/ Since January 1 the Netherlands takes six-month presidency of the Council of the European Union.
Report informs, the EU presidency moved to the Netherlands from Luxembourg. Prime Minister Mark Rutte will be Chairman of the Council of the EU for this period.
But which hot topics will be in the Dutch basket? That is not entirely clear yet, as Juncker has just started and it is not sure which negotiations will still be ongoing in a year’s time. But in the 28 January letter to Parliament, the minster of Foreign Affairs has already published his following priorities.
1. The Dutch want a Europe that focuses on the essentials,meaning a clear task division between the member states and the EU institutions. The quality of the legislation from Brussels has to be improved, ‘making it simpler and more workable’ and resulting in a reduction in the administrative burden for businesses, citizens and governments.
2. Also in line with the Juncker agenda, is the second priority of an Innovative Union focused at growth and jobs.The Netherlands envisage an EU that stays competitive and keeps innovating. Concretely, that entails steps as removing barriers to innovation in the internal market, focusing EU funds on innovation research, supporting the Digital Single Market strategy of the Commission (to be announced in May), keep pushing for economic reform at member states’ level. The Dutch minister for Social Affairs, Lodewijk Asscher, stated that he wants to focus on Europe’s labour market. Concrete policy measures includea plan against social dumping and a revision of the directive on posting of workers.
3. The last priority of the Dutch EU Presidency is aimed ata better connectionbetween the institutions in Brussels and the 500 million citizens. As the trust of Europeans in the EU has plummeted (mainly because of the eurozone crisis), ‘strengthening democratic legitimacy’ will be one of the key issues for the Netherlands. They want an ‘active involvement by people and civil society organisations’ in policy debates and promote transparency in the EU decision-making process. Further on, the EU should focus on concrete results – and this is, again, one of the specific tasks of Timmermans as given by Juncker.
The Netherlands will pass the EU chairmanship to Slovakia In July.