The Netherlands takes over the rotating presidency of the EU on January 1 and has outlined four key areas for action.
Migration and security, innovation and job creation, sound finances and a forward-looking energy policy top the list of concerns where the Dutch aim to make progress.
In particular, the Netherlands wants to see an EU which ‘focuses on the essentials and … connects with civil society,’ according to the presidency website.
‘The Dutch tradition of consultation and cooperation can accomplish a lot in Europe,’ the website said.
The Netherlands does not want the EU to deal with issues that ‘the member states can organise perfectly well themselves, such as health care, education, pensions and taxation,’ the website states.
‘Innovation, growth and jobs come first. To that end, Europe needs smarter rules – simplified rules that apply to all member states. That will reduce bureaucracy and costs for citizens, companies and public authorities alike.’
While much of the presidency will focus on Brussels and Luxembourg, there will also be some 20 formal and informal meetings in the Netherlands at the maritime museum in Amsterdam and former naval dockyard next door.
The Parool reported last month that Amsterdam police officers equipped with machine guns will patrol the former marine headquarters during the Dutch presidency.
In total, 12 officers will carry the guns and will be backed up by armoured police cars, the Parool said. Such heavy weaponry on Amsterdam streets has been taboo until now, the paper notes.
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