Dutch Foreign Min.: Time for a "different" Europe

Minister Bert Koenders of Foreign Affairs thinks its time for Europe to change, now that "America First is the motto" of the new U.S. president Donald Trump, he said in newspaper AD. "Not more Europe, not less. We need a different Europe."

According to Koenders, the EU long worked as a legislative machine. While the Americans ensured our safety, Europe was able to extend its internal markets. And for that rules from Brussels were necessary. But now that Donald Trump is in charge, support from the United States on security is no longer a guarantee. And it is therefore time for a change, Koenders said.

Koenders finds it promising that European Parliamentarians are complaining that there are too few laws. "If the European Parliament really thinks it has too little to do, it can be half the size. At least in one place - the monthly traveling circus is a travesty." 

As far as Koenders is concerned, European Parliamentarians should spend more time among the people. "As long as they spend half their time in meeting rooms, the European Parliament will in my opinion have less influence on important negotiations, such as over the Brexit or how the EU is paid. We need representatives who know what is going on among the people."

The Dutch Minister believes the Member States should be placed bac in the spotlight. Give the Member States initiative on dealing with acute problems, such a how to approach the financial crisis or setting sanctions against Russia, the Minister said. Governments should themselves be responsible for the facilities and services their residents find important, such as healthcare, education, a decent pension and a proper safety net for people who are struggling. But at the same time it must be ensured that equal work gets equal pay across Europe, so that "our truck drivers, plumbers and plasterers" have a fair chance.