EU Forum

EU Integration

Misleading Parallelism

14 May 2014 - 11:17

The Dutch traditionally adopt a pragmatic approach towards European integration issues, which takes into account national interests. Recent years have been marked by a change of tone in the political debate. Even though most political parties in the Netherlands are essentially supportive of the EU and European integration, they lack an unequivocal vision on the future course of European integration. The Dutch agenda, however, seems to contrast with developments in Brussels, where the powers of the European institutions, not least the European Parliament, are expanding. The last five years have been marked by several influential policy dossiers, where the EP had an important vote.

This report analyses fifteen EP votes and compares them with the Dutch national debate on the same policy issue. The outcomes of the EP votes and the votes on the motions in the Dutch Lower House indicate that the voting behaviour of the positioning of the European delegations mostly concurs with that of their national delegation. The positions of the parties on the left/right and the for/against cleavages thus seem identical in both parliaments. Important as this conclusion is, however, this parallelism is misleading.

The report is part of a larger research project, "European Parliament votes that shaped EU and national politics 2009-2014". initiated by VoteWatch Europe and Notre Europe. The aim of the project is to highlight and analyse the impact of European policy issues on national politics in the period 2009-2014.