The Netherlands vowed to become the locomotive of the EU, not the brakes


The same Quartet. The same prime minister. Probably most of them are the same ministers.However, the fourth ruling coalition led by liberals Mark Rutte When it comes to the position of the Netherlands in the European Union, his tone is clearly different.New alliance protocol The implication is that The Hague will no longer act as a brake for the European Union, but as a locomotive. Rutte, he often likes his cast Mr. Not Europe, Now intends to be the vanguard of European integration.

The Hague’s new enthusiasm for Europe bears the stigma of D66, the left-wing liberal pro-European party that won the election. The biggest loser is the more skeptical Christian Democrats in Europe. Rutte’s authority was weakened by the welfare scandal that led to the collapse of his third government, and, like a chameleon, he had the opportunity to reinvent himself.

However, Catherine de Vries, a professor at Bocconi University, said that the new position of the Netherlands also reflects how geopolitical uncertainties, pandemics and the chaos of Brexit “reinforce the internal The need for collective action”.

The thrifty Dutch, who like to teach fiscal discipline to other EU governments, are opening up the spending spigot. The new government will increase spending on housing, education, childcare, and defense. It is setting up a fund to finance a decarbonization fund that accumulates 4.3% of GDP and another fund for rural diversification (including the closure of pollution-intensive farms), valued at 3.1%. The additional borrowing will put Dutch debt slightly above the EU’s 60% ceiling. It is hardly in the same category as Italy (155%) or Greece (206%), but this restriction no longer seems sacrosanct. Marcel Klok, senior economist at ING, said the agreement amounts to “saying goodbye to frugality.”

The four coalition parties now say that they are open to the “modernization” of EU fiscal rules as long as they can promote fiscal sustainability and economic integration. It is vague, but in line with the somewhat flexible approach promised by the new German coalition government.

After Britain withdrew from the European Union, The Hague became the leader of the so-called thrifty nation, opposing the EU’s huge expenditures, greater risk sharing, or any action that weakened the EU’s fiscal rules.

Rutte’s fourth government also hopes to become an advocate for deeper integration, such as ending the country’s veto power in foreign policy, strengthening the role of the European Parliament, and establishing carbon and digital taxes within the EU. If some EU capitals want to take the initiative, the Dutch want to be the vanguard.

The new position of the Netherlands is its second adjustment to Europe after Brexit.The first is that it leads an informal group composed of free trade, economic freedom, and fiscal hawks. It is called New Hanseatic League, They need to join forces to defend their own interests, not their powerful British ally.The group shrank to a hard core of thrift, trying to Blockage The European Union provides a recovery fund grant funded by a common debt.

De Vries said that the New Hanseatic League ensures that the EU listens to the opinions of small countries. But the Dutch began to ask “Can you get more through constructive rather than some opponents”. However, she warned that the strong Eurosceptic pressure in Dutch politics has not disappeared.

Pepijn Bergsen of Chatham House doubts that the Netherlands will undergo a fundamental change in EU fiscal policy, but said that the new alliance agreement reflects a “consensus of slow changes” in other areas of EU policy.

The alliance agreement is full ofStrategic autonomy“And how it should strategically use its economic power through investment screening, fair competition field tools, and wise industrial policies.

Rem Korteweg of Clingendael of the Netherlands Institute of International Relations said: “The Netherlands was once the last backbone of neoliberalism, free trade, and loose government ideas.” It’s a light protectionist approach.” Dutch sounds a little less Dutch and a little more French.



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