Netherlands

I - Political context

Political change
I.1
What is the political context of the Eurozone crisis period in The Netherlands? Have there been changes in government, elections, referenda or other major political events during the period of 2008-present?

The political situation in The Netherlands in this period was quite turbulent. Some major EU crisis measures were negotiated in situations when there was not a full functioning government or where government had to rely strongly on the support from the House of Representatives. Please see the answers to questions IV.1, V.3, VI.1 and VII.1 for the specific political context surrounding specific EU measures that have been negotiated during these periods. Since a clear majority of the political parties within Dutch the House of Representatives is pro-EU and government, early on, adopted a close working relationship with the House of Representatives, in terms of a information protocol, there were no real obstacles encountered in the negation or ratification of the EU debt crisis related measures. For ease of reference please find here a schematic overview of political events and their relevance to the EU crisis measures:

Political event NL

Effect

EU measures implemented

February 2010: government falls over military participation in Afghanistan. New (minority) government formed in October 2010.

 

Interim period during which government can only deal with current affairs and is not allowed to decide on any ‘controversial’ affairs.

 

Negotiation and implementation of the EFSF and EFSM

October 2010 – April 2012 Minority government (Liberal and Christian democrats) in place that relies on support on anti-EU Party for Freedom of Geert Wilders

For EU related policy matters government had to rely on pro EU opposition parties and was consequently very careful with informing the House of Representatives and agreed on a working document

Government had to rely on the pro-EU opposition parties to get a mandate for the negotiation of the Euro-Plus-Pact. A clear majority within parliament (that includes the Social Democrats, Centre Right Liberals and Greens) is pro-EU and, eventually, government received a broadly supported mandate to negotiate the Euro-Plus-Pact. Parliament did request government to ensure in all its negotiations on the combined economic governance measures, coined as the Europact in The Netherlands, to ensure not to move towards a political union. Concretely this meant that there could be no transfer of powers on the level of policy measures to be undertaken on a national level.

The (minority) government fell in April 2012 because the main right wing Party for Freedom (the PVV of Geert Wilders) withdrew support for the Liberal and Christian Democrats led (VVD and CDA) government after failed negotiations on government cuts. New government was formed in November 2012.

Interim period during which government can only deal with current affairs and is not allowed to decide on any ‘controversial’ affairs.

 

Both the ratification of Art 136 TFEU amendment and the ESM Treaty took place within this period. Both were adopted with broad parliamentary support from the centre left and right that traditionally strongly support the European Union project.

The government in place since November 2012 has a majority in the House of Representatives but not in the Senate

Government depends on opposition parties to support legislative initiatives in Senate (a number of – non EU related – legislative proposals have already been blocked in the Senate)

Government depends on support from opposition parties to pass current Wet Hof and other implementing measures related to directive 2011/85/eu