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Rediscovering Europe in the Netherlands

Rediscovering Europe in the Netherlands

Wetenschappelijke Raad voor het Regeringsbeleid
SCIENTIFIC COUNCIL FOR GOVERNMENT POLICY
Series: WRR Rapporten
Copyright Date: 2007
Pages: 180
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt45kfgt
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  • Book Info
    Rediscovering Europe in the Netherlands
    Book Description:

    The results of the 2005 referendum on the Constitutional Treaty for Europe exposed dramatically the rift between the political and public opinion regarding European policymaking. It also showed that politicians had failed to function as adequate links between "Europe" and the Dutch citizens. Against this background, the authors analyse the relative lack of legitimacy of the European Union in the Netherlands and advise on means of shoring up its image going beyond traditional institutional approaches. This title is available in the OAPEN Library - http://www.oapen.org.

    eISBN: 978-90-485-0110-6
    Subjects: Political Science, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 1-4)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. 5-8)
  3. SUMMARY
    (pp. 9-13)
  4. ZUSAMMENFASSUNG
    (pp. 14-19)
  5. RÉSUMÉ
    (pp. 20-26)
  6. PREFACE
    (pp. 27-30)
    W.B.H.J. van de Donk
  7. 1 INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 31-40)

    On 1 June 2005, the Dutch electorate, with a resounding majority of almost 62 percent, voted against ratification of the European Constitutional Treaty. This result followed the earlier rejection of the Treaty by the French electorate. This was striking enough in itself, but the discrepancy between the opinions of the Dutch voters, on the one hand, and the government and the vast majority of mps, on the other, was even more surprising. Whereas 85 percent of the members of the house of representatives of the Dutch Parliament had expressed support for the Treaty, only 38.5 percent of the electors who...

  8. 2 DIAGNOSIS
    (pp. 41-72)

    This chapter presents a diagnosis of the problems surrounding Dutch eu policy based on both theoretical and empirical grounds. The central question addressed is: Was the outcome of the referendum on the European Constitutional Treaty an incident, or are there indications of broader problems concerning the legitimacy of eu policy in the Netherlands? The chapter begins with a brief theoretical description of the concept and the four dimensions or ‘sources’ of legitimacy, namelyresults(output),representation(input),accountabilityandidentification. Democratic and constitutional approaches to legitimisation will also be discussed (section 2.2). This is followed by an empirical analysis, based...

  9. 3 POLITICS AND ADMINISTRATION
    (pp. 73-90)

    The eu’s multi-layered political system is explicitly decentralised in its configuration. National politics and administration consequently play a crucial role in the legitimisation of eu policy at the national level. In a perfect democratic process, politicians and administrators would ideally represent and be responsible for eu policy input for the citizens of their respective nations. Politicians and administrators are, after all, part of the eu policy decision making process, often because they have a formal role to play within it (e.g., cabinet members), or more informal and indirect roles. They also have the important task of implementation of eu policy...

  10. 4 SAFEGUARDS AND DIRECT CITIZEN PARTICIPATION
    (pp. 91-118)

    The previous chapter discussed the role of politicians and policy makers from the perspective of representative democracy, in which citizens elect their representatives who then deliberate and make decisions based on that mandate. That approach is thus based on theindirectinfluence that citizens can exert on the decisions taken by their elected representatives. In this chapter, other perspectives will be explored. Firstly, it discusses the constitutional tradition, within which the offering of safeguards on the basis of subjecting public authority to the rule of law, distribution of power, checks and balances, protection of the individual and an independent judiciary...

  11. 5 CIVIL SOCIETY
    (pp. 119-136)

    Citizens are not just voters (or legal subjects), but participate in all manner of social relationships and structures. These relationships are important in a democracy, because they reflect the fact that democracy is not just a political phenomenon and that social problems are not just the government’s concern (Putnam 1993). Social relationships have traditionally fulfilled a crucial linking function between government and citizens within democratic decision making processes (Dahl 1956, 1971; Truman 1951; Polsby 1963). Examples include the trade union movement, the environmental movement, and other old and new social movements, which have also increasingly begun to manifest themselves via...

  12. 6 NEWS MEDIA
    (pp. 137-150)

    Free and open communication on political and social issues is a precondition for the creation of a ‘public space’ (Habermas 1990). Both traditional and contemporary media are important when it comes to communicating with the public in modern democracies. Ideally their communicative function is threefold: to offer foras for public opinion formation and consultation; to mobilise public and political participation; and to be a ‘watchdog’vis-à-visthe political powers (Habermas 1990; Norris 2000). Necessary elements therefore include the provision of (impartial) information, clarifying different views, critically monitoring political and social trends and influencing the political and social agenda (Kleinnijenhuis, Oegema...

  13. 7 STRENGTHENING THE LEGITIMACY OF DUTCH EU POLICY: CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
    (pp. 151-168)

    The rejection of the European Constitutional Treaty by the Dutch electorate in the referendum of June 2005 was seen by many as an expression of a deeper level of discontentment among the Dutch public regarding European integration and as a sign of the gap that existed between Dutch citizens and the eu policy pursued by their political and bureaucratic elites. In light of the referendum’s outcome, the government asked the wrr to advise it on ways it could strengthen the political and social embedding of eu policy in the Netherlands (see annex 1). To meet this request, the wrr addressed...

  14. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 169-179)