The Netherlands kicks off ‘to do’ list campaign for Brussels

Some 70 top officials from across the EU attended a meeting in the Netherlands on Thursday to discuss plans to rein in the influence of the European Commission, the Financieele Dagblad reports.

The invitation-only meeting was the kick-off in the Dutch campaign to draw up a list of policy areas suitable to be regulated by the Commission, the paper says.

‘If the Netherlands has its way, the European Council of Ministers will for the first time be presented with a formal ‘to do’ list,’ the FD says.

The cabinet says a number of policy areas should be left to individual member states because ‘the time for an ever-closer union in every possible arena is over’.

The new strategy was outlined in a briefing to parliament by foreign affairs minister Frans Timmermans last June. The aim is not to renegotiate treaties but to decide if the division of tasks between Europe and member states is as it should be.


Elections to the European parliament take place on May 22 against a backdrop of mounting Euroscepticism. Anti-European parties, such as the PVV in the Netherlands, are expected to make major gains.

Timmermans said after Thursday’s meeting at the Clingendael country estate he is optimistic the initiative will be successful.

‘We are trying to expand what began as a cabinet initiative because we have noticed we have hit a nerve in many other countries,’ Timmermans said.

Timmermans’ proposals state the EU should not interfere in ‘media diversity’, there should be no further harmonisation of EU social benefits, and health and safety regulations should only be the subject of a broad European outlines.

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