Christiansen, Dijkstra and Neuhold brief Dutch parliament on Europe

The standing committee on European Affairs of the Dutch parliament visited Maastricht on 11 December to debate the White Paper on the Future of Europe. Thomas Christiansen, Hylke Dijkstra and Christine Neuhold provided expert testimony on democratic legitimacy and EU security policy.

In March 2017, the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, published the White Paper on the Future of Europe, in which he proposed five different scenarios for the EU. These ranged from “Carrying on” to “Those who want to do more”. This White Paper and several sectoral reflection papers have triggered a pan-European debate. In addition to the Commission President, several other prominent politicians have proposed their visions for Europe, most notably the French President Macron during his speech at the Sorbonne in September.

As part of the pan-European debate, the standing committee on European Affairs of the Dutch parliament organised a hearing in Maastricht on 11 December to discuss the future of Europe. Following introductory remarks by the First Vice-President of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans, experts provided testimony during three discussion rounds on the economic future of Europe, the political future, and democratic legitimacy. Expert testimony was followed by questions from the different Dutch parliamentarians.

The Maastricht Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences was well-represented during this hearing. During the second discussion round, Hylke Dijkstra analysed what the troubling developments in the rest of the world imply for European defence. During the third discussion round, Thomas Christiansen and Christine Neuhold discussed innovations with respect to the democratic legitimacy of the EU, including the role of national parliaments and EU initiatives such as the Spitzenkandidaten and pan-European electoral lists.

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