The Netherlands in Europe: Leader or troublemaker?
By Ton Wachter
A European crisis with an uncertain perspective – is that what we wanted?
Hardly! But even in the Netherlands, more and more voices are being raised against the EU.
What will that mean for the future of our children and grandchildren? Is a more social Europe possible? This Sonnenberg meeting is the penultimate in a series of events in seven European countries, under the My! Europe project (myeurope.today)
Of course, the situation right after the Second World War made joint action, a shared vision and a forward-looking policy of cooperation a must. Against the background of the European history of recent centuries we could very well speak of a small miracle. 71 years of peace and constructive cooperation were by no means obvious.
From the outset, the Netherlands were actively involved in the "European project". In the early years, 1958-1973, it was the legendary European Commissioner Sicco Mansholt who designed the new common agricultural policy (which, incidentally, he criticized himself later). Many followed. Right now, Frans Timmermans and Jeroen Dijsselbloem are important Dutch politicians on the European stage.
Conference hotel Kontakt der Kontinenten, Soesterberg, introduces itself as "a meeting place for global citizens.
Everybody is welcome regardless of origin, way of thinking or religion".
One might expect that in the Netherlands you would find a positive attitude towards Europe along the general public, if not a general enthusiasm. But no. Even in this country euro scepticism is spreading.
Are they just troublemakers, or should we call their criticism justified? The participants at the Dutch My!Europe conference will try together to find an answer to this question.
But also to many other questions: How social is this Europe? What opportunities there are in Europe for the younger generation? How do we cope with the growing East-West tension in the EU? What solutions are there?
Will Charles de Gaulle's old idea that we should go for a "Europe of Nations" instead of a Europe of bureaucrats be revived? Or are we facing a threatening Nexit? A Holland, which retracts into the polder, closing its boundaries and raising the dikes?
On the last day of the meeting, we will discuss what the unstoppable globalization will mean for Europe and the Netherlands ... An exciting subject!
In the "My!Europe" project, the current state of Europe is being/has been discussed at 8 conferences in different 7 countries.
But the 2015 – 2016 project can only be the first round. A single round of discussions is hardly enough, we should continue. The International Sonnenberg Association is a great network with many more ideas and possibilities! So…
Conference program here.