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We need to reduce Brussel's powers, says Dutch CDA leader

Tuesday 05 February 2013

The Netherlands needs to get back a large part of the powers it has handed over to Brussels, Christian Democrat leader Sybrand Buma says in an interview with Tuesday’s Volkskrant.

Speaking ahead of today’s parliamentary debate on Europe, Buma said the European Union should no longer decide about issues which can better be regulated at home. These include putting small building contracts out to tender, press freedom, pension regulations and maternity leave, the CDA leader said.

The CDA also wants an end to European ‘interference’ in environmental policy – such as acceptable levels of nitrates in water and compulsory energy labels for housing.

Europe’s role should be in the financial and economic sphere, he said. ‘We have to get away from this idea that if you want less Europe, you are against it,’ he told the paper.


Buma’s comments come as the VVD-PvdA coalition is attempting to finalise its position on Europe ahead of next week's crucial budget talks.

The CDA leader also referred to the recent speech by British prime minister David Cameron in which he outlined plans to renegotiate Britain’s relationship with the EU and hold a referendum on membership.

‘He is right [to raise these issues],’ Buma said. ‘We have to say: hang on, let’s get back to the European idea we started with’. The Netherlands was one of the founding members of the European Community, which preceeded the EU.

MPs are later today due to discuss the official Dutch response to Cameron's speech.

Is Buma right? Have your say using the comment box below.

© DutchNews.nl


Readers' Comments

You poll is not giving us an option other than ''yes'' and the stupid persons ''don't know'' choice.

By Jason | 5 February 2013 9:10 AM

Buma is right! The Dutch need to get back powers and have a say so in what goes on in our land.

By dee | 5 February 2013 9:12 AM

From the constant stream of news we read about cartels in the Netherlands, out of control rules on driving and mortgages, protectionism, fraud in housing corporations, slave labour on Brabant farms etc. I am mighty pleased that there is European "interference" in regulating tenders on building contracts, press freedom, pension regulations and maternity leave. External monitoring forces Euro Nations to toe the line. If you want to scrap/modify a Euro Rule, state your case in Euro parliament and let the Euro Nations decide if it is fair for all.

By jaycee | 5 February 2013 9:33 AM

Back to the European ideas of the Coal and Steel board? Sounds interesting.

However, nitrate quantities in water...What would they say when Germany or any upstream country starts to dump chemicals in the Rhijn, which then flows down to the Estuary that is NL? Perhaps some inter-boarder environmental agreements are good, as nature doesn't respect national boarders.

Other concepts, like local planning laws, or employment conditions might better be handled more locally.

By H. | 5 February 2013 9:34 AM

Brussels should be stripped of some powers but only because it is a very undemocratic institute. Were it more democratic I'd have no problem with granting it more powers.

By groverpm | 5 February 2013 9:42 AM

Is Buma correct? Sure, like GB, NL should be able cherry pick what they like about the EU and discard what they don't. Like keeping the yellow license plates (tags) as Belgium did red (albeit darker) instead of the uniform black on white so that EU members could travel freely without sticking out like foreigners.

By Puck | 5 February 2013 9:56 AM

I appreciate Buma being nuanced on this issue, but without specifics I can't tell if this isn't just grand-standing.

1. On Environment: No one in NL objected to the EU standards until regressive governments came into power in NL and the Dutch standards for dropped below the European standards in several areas. Classic power-hungry politician -- does not want the rules to apply to himself or his country. Do labeling rules really sound like a big government takeover to you? Not banning any products, just labeling.

2. On tendering: Tendering is a core part of a free and single market. Buma makes it seem like everything has to be tendered, but the thresholds are €100Ks and millions.

By Robert | 5 February 2013 11:09 AM

I am happy with Europe. Especially because of the environmental policies. I am glad this government is a bit more ambitious then all those governments that included CDA and their farmer's politics.

By pepe | 5 February 2013 1:07 PM

Buma would be right at home in the U.S. Congress. Rather than representing the wellbeing of the Dutch citizenry, he represents the special interests of Industry. Deregulations in the U.S. is what caused the current disaster we face here. It should be an example for Europe what NOT to do. Buma is wrong on so many levels it is frightening.

By Gerry | 5 February 2013 5:28 PM

Standardisation is a good thing. Brussels should not prescribe standards unnecessarily. Rather provide guiding standards leaving individual countries to decide whether to comply with European standards,or not(yet).

By Frans | 5 February 2013 6:10 PM

EU should only be concerned with environmental issues, economic and employment issues are still better managed at local level.

By ufo | 6 February 2013 9:19 AM

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