Dutch foreign minister Frans Timmermans is to become Juncker’s ‘right-hand man’ in Brussels but was the Netherlands fobbed of? What the Dutch media say.
Frans Timmermans will be European Commission chairman Jean-Claude Juncker’s replacement in case he has the flu or wants the day off. That is quite an achievement, writes Trouw. But does Timmermans’ newly created portfolio – regulation – have any substance? the paper asks.
‘Among other things, Timmermans will tackle the multitude of rules and regulations coming from Brussels which is the cause of so much irritation,’ the paper writes. It adds that Timmermans’ position as Juncker’s right-hand man is the most impressive bit of the job even if the currants in the cake – the economic top jobs – went to other European heavyweights.
BNR News radio’s political commentator Jaap Jansen thinks Mark Rutte’s strategy ‘did not pay off’. Timmermans is to be congratulated but Rutte will have to prepare himself for a barrage of questions, he warns.
‘It will be Timmermans’ task to restore confidence in the EU and keep the Brits aboard,’ Jansen writes. It won’t be easy. ‘Many European civil servants won’t trust Timmermans. Neil Kinnock tried and failed to tame the Brussels beast.’
Timmermans, although he didn’t land his dream job – to be European foreign minister- has reason to be content, Jansen writes. ‘There is a joke doing the rounds in The Hague political circles that Timmermans will probably take over completely when Juncker has one too many too often.’
Public broadcaster NOS also wonders about Timmermans’ mandate: ‘Will he have the power to block other European commissioner’s proposals for new rules and will he be able to initiate rules of his own? That is the question. However you look at it this is an important post. He will be a kind of super justice minister.’
Elsevier in its analysis says the enthusiasm about Timmermans’ appointment on the part of the government is ‘baffling’. As vice president of the European Commission he will support Juncker’s agenda: a federal Europe, it writes.
Prime minister Mark Rutte has always balked at a federal Europe and far from handing over more authority to Brussels he wants some of it back. According to Rutte ‘the European Union and the Eurogroup can be in charge of the euro, energy and trade but that should be about the extent of European involvement,’ Elsevier writes.
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