Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the UN, United States

The Netherlands stands at the heart of a democratic and prosperous Europe

The Netherlands confidently chooses to occupy a central position in a democratic and prosperous Europe. This does not mean, however, that it is turning a blind eye to discontent about flaws in the European partnership. The EU can be improved. And the Netherlands, motivated by enlightened self-interest, will work hard to make this happen. The Netherlands needs the European partnership, especially given the major changes and new challenges facing the world. Only if we actively take part in the dialogue can we help determine the direction the Union will take.

The above are some of the main points articulated in the government’s State of the Union.

At the suggestion of foreign minister Frans Timmermans, the cabinet has voted to send the State of the Union to parliament.

For the next several years, the Netherlands’ European policy will mainly concentrate on strengthening the eurozone and making Europe more democratic, for example by involving national parliaments more in the European decision-making process and enhancing the structures for doing so. Brussels, too, will have to implement reforms. Powers and the scope of legislation must be clearly defined. Yet there is little point in looking beyond the horizon and discussing ultimate political goals for the continent. The European Union is not an end in itself, but rather a means to achieve security, justice and prosperity for all people of Europe. The EU must do the right things, and do those things right.

The annual State of the Union message lays out the government’s views on European cooperation for the years ahead, identifying the Netherlands’ priorities and aims. By this summer the government will release the results of a study examining what issues can better be addressed in the Netherlands than in Brussels.