Dutch Presidency to review costs of EU legislation for industry

At a breakfast policy briefing on the priorities of the upcoming Dutch Presidency, ambassador Tom de Bruijn pleased his audience by promising a thorough review of the costs of EU legislation for industry.

Ambassador de Bruijn focussed in his presentation on the two
main European Councils planned for the second half of the year. The
first EU Summit will take place on 5 November and will have two
priorities: a new programme for Justice and Home Affairs and the
Lisbon process. The second Summit in mid-December will mainly deal
with further EU enlargement (Bulgaria and Romania, Turkey and

In the area of of
freedom, security and justice, the Dutch will
intensify the EU’s initiatives to fight terrorism, based on the
report of new ‘terrorism czar’ Gijs de Vries. Secondly, they will
re-orient the discussion on the common asylum system to deal with
integration policies instead of just minimum norms. Thirdly, they
want to improve multilateral co-operation between police

The Dutch Presidency wants to advance the
Lisbon process by focussing on the administrative
burdens for industry. They will discuss the Wim Kok mid-term review
report during the November European Council in order to prepare for
the work of the 2005 Luxembourg Presidency in this important area.
Mr de Bruijn was very eager to tell the industry audience that his
country’s Presidency will look at the administrative costs for
industry of new EU rules and laws. The EU will need a “sustained
effort” from several Presidencies to see whether existing EU
legislation will “have to be adapted”, according to the

The most important topic of the December Summit
will be the future enlargement wave of the Union. Mr de Bruijn
indicated that
Bulgaria has made more substantial progress than
Romania, but carefully avoided answering the
question whether there might be two different starting dates for
both countries, as the Dutch Parliament has asked. On
Turkey, the ambassador said that two principles
will guide the Dutch Presidency’s approach of the question of
Turkey’s candidature: fairness (“we will have to fulfil our
promises” if Turkey is in line with the Copenhagen criteria) and
sustainability (“it should be a decision that we can work with in
the years to come”). The Dutch will also start the negotiating
process with Croatia, if the country is given the green light in


The Dutch centre-right government of Jan Peter Balkenende
will take over the EU Presidency from 1 July 2004. It will do so in
a very crucial, but difficult period. It will have no real policy
counterpart in the first half of its Presidency as the new
Parliament (elected in the coming days) and the new Commission
(from 1 November) will take time to settle in. Things could get
worse if EU leaders fail to reach a final deal on the constitution
during their next European Council meeting on 17-18 June.

In an EPC (European Policy Centre) breakfast
meeting on 9 June, Dutch ambassador Tom de Bruijn presented the
priorities of his government for its six-month period at the helm
of the Union.


  • The Netherlands will start its six-months EU Presidency on 1
    July 2004.


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