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Politics: Dutch government sets out vision of EU reform

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The Dutch government publishes a “subsidiarity review” – an assessment of the policy areas in which it believes the EU should and should not be involved.

The policy document sets out nine broad principles and 54 specific recommendations. The guiding principle is described as “European where necessary, national where possible”, and calls for a “European Union that is a more modest, more sober and at the same time more effective.”

The nine general principles include:

  • more power for national governments to question European Court of Justice legal interpretations leading to unintended consequences;
  • ensuring EU intervention is motivated by a clear legal basis;
  • focusing EU legislation only on the main points necessary to achieve shared goals rather than detailed prescriptions;
  • a mechanism to prevent new EU initiatives in areas where there are widespread national objections.

The document calls for a significant scaling back of EU powers and notes that the Dutch EU Presidency in the first half of 2016 “could play a role in promoting such an agenda”.

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In brief

Link to the milestones