Netherlands needs a stronger Europe amid global power shifts: SER report
The Netherlands needs a strong Europe because the global economic and political balance of power is rapidly shifting, said the Social and Economic Council of the Netherlands (SER) this week. The SER considered what the European Union’s policy agenda could look like for the period ranging from 2024 to 2029, which will have a significant amount of influence over policy in the Netherlands.
The coronavirus pandemic and the war in Ukraine have shown how dependent Europe is on foreign countries for certain products, and the risks this entails, wrote the SER, which provides advice and guidance to the Cabinet and parliament. It went on to state that Europe must be a strong competitor to other large economies, while being less dependent on countries outside the European Union.
However, the EU must remain an open economy. It must promote this position by continuing to invest in competitiveness, develop strong policy for industrial and technology sectors, and by concluding trade agreements.
Kim Putters, the SER chair, believes that an effective and coherent policy is needed to make the EU stronger. “European, national, regional and local policies must be better integrated throughout the entire process of creation and implementation,” Putters said. The new policy agenda will be drawn up after the European elections in 2024.
The new European policy will require a better connection to Dutch policy, the SER believes. This is not always the case, “which gives the wrong impression that EU policy is happening to us.” The SER thinks that would be harmful to support and confidence in the EU.
In the social arena, the European agenda must be concrete, ambitious and future-oriented, the SER stated. For example, there should be guidelines for artificial intelligence (AI) and for the labor market. Rogue employment agencies must be tackled, and employees must receive a reasonable salary with adequate working conditions.
In order to implement this policy agenda, the SER believes it is important that social organizations are given a voice in policymaking in Europe. Also, when looking at regulatory frameworks, it called for administrative obligations which are proportionate to the purpose of a law.
There must also be enough funding available to implement the new European Union budget.
Reporting by ANP