Written by Dora Boytha (Office of the Deputy Secretary-General),
From January to June 2016, The Netherlands will hold the Presidency of the EU Council for the 12th time, kicking off the Dutch-Slovak-Maltese Trio Presidency.
The Dutch Council of Ministers, also called the Cabinet of the Netherlands, consists of the Prime Minister (Mark Rutte), 13 Ministers and seven State Secretaries. The current Cabinet is a coalition of the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD, ALDE affiliated) and the center-left Labour Party (PvdA, S&D affiliated), elected on 12 November 2012. The Netherlands being a constitutional monarchy, King Willem-Alexander is kept up to date on the government’s decisions during weekly meetings with the Prime Minister, but His Majesty does not participate in the daily decision-making of the government.
In a letter submitted by the Minister of Foreign Affairs to the House of Representatives on 28 January 2015, the following horizontal priorities were indicated for the Dutch EU Presidency:
(i) improving quality and simplification of legislation;
(ii) growth and jobs (internal market, innovation and digital economy); and
(iii) active involvement of citizens and civil society in policymaking.
The Dutch government will also base its EU priorities on the Strategic Agenda of the European Council adopted at the European Summit of 26-27 June 2014.
For the first semester of 2016, the Commission’s soon ending 2015 work programme will largely determine the legislative agenda as nearly all major proposals will have been put on the table by the end of this year. The Commission has adopted its Work Programme for 2016 on 27 October 2015 with – for the first time – a list of 17 “priority pending proposals”, on which it expects the co-legislators to deliver swiftly. As of 16 December 2015, there are 140 active ordinary legislative procedures, of which 23 have been agreed by the co-legislators at political level and around 30 are being negotiated in view of a first or (early) second reading agreement.
This note aims to present the state of affairs in the policy fields of Dutch priority, as well as the most important related dossiers to be addressed by the Dutch Presidency.
Read the complete briefing on ‘Priority dossiers under the Dutch EU Council Presidency‘ in PDF.
The Deputy Secretary General (DSG) is responsible for legislative coordination and planning both within the Parliament and in relation to other Institutions, particularly the Council and the Commission. In carrying out these tasks, the DSG is assisted by the Inter-institutional Relations Unit and the Legislative Planning and Coordination Unit (she is also responsible for the Classified Information Unit). The DSG together with her services assists the President and the Parliament’s governing bodies with briefing and background notes on specific dossiers and procedures, prepares the preliminary draft agendas of plenary sessions, as well as other documents in relation to strategic programming, such as on activities of the Commission and the Council.