Netherlands Presidency of the Council of the European Union
January – June 2016
The Dutch Presidency will work for a European Union that focuses on the essentials, a Union that focuses on growth and jobs through innovation, and a Union that connects with civil society. The Netherlands Presidency has the following four policy priorities:
Migration and international security
The Netherlands is strongly committed to a common border control, asylum and migration policy. There needs to be better local reception of refugees in the region as well as in Europe. The member states also need to divide the burden more fairly and look for ways to better manage the flow of migrants. In order to achieve this member states must take joint action and focus on the causes of this crisis. The Netherlands will work towards rapid implementation of the migration package presented by the Commission, better policy coordination (across different policy areas) and better information exchange and cooperation between the national security services of EU member states
Europe as an innovator and job creator
The Netherlands seeks to make the single market deeper and fairer. The Netherlands will focus on fewer rules and a reduced administrative burden, a better digital market, an improved market for services, better protection for employees in the EU, joint investment in cross-border partnerships and competitiveness and better alignment between academia and business through open access and better use of date.
Sound finances and a robust Eurozone
After the deep crisis, recovery has now set in. Structural reforms and sound budget policy are bearing fruit, and many member states are gradually finding their way to economic recovery and rising employment. It is important to continue this work. During its Presidency, the Netherlands will work towards a stronger Capital Markets Union, progress on structural reforms, more coordinated economic policies, compliance with EMU agreements and initiatives for a new and reformed multiannual budget.
Forward-looking climate and energy policy
The Netherlands is committed to a coherent approach to issues concerning the climate, the environment and sustainability. These issues must be seen in close relation to one another. In this way economic goals and the responsible use of natural resources and energy can be brought together in a future-proof model for sustainable growth. The Netherlands will work towards: stimulating innovative sectors that contribute to a transition to a circular economy, further developing a European Energy Union and implementing the outcomes of the Paris climate conference.
Some priorities of the Netherlands EU Presidency in Hungary in the first half of 2016
On January 22nd the Dutch embassy will organise an inclusive opening event where ‘Holland meets Hungary’. At the City Park Ice Rink an ice-skating show will be performed by Dutch and Hungarian skaters in folklore costumes! In order to keep the public warm the Ice Rink will be also open for the public and traditional Dutch winter specialities will be served. The aim of this event is to involve the Hungarian community in the EU Presidency of the Netherlands.
On March 21st at the Danubiana a water management seminar and exhibition will take place, on the border of Slovakia and Hungary, near Bratislava, in close cooperation with the Netherlands embassies in Bratislava and Vienna, as well as water management officials from Austria, Hungary, the Netherlands and Slovakia. The aim of the event is to strengthen regional cooperation on water management in the Danube basin, with a cultural fringe in the form of a water related exhibition; present know-how and solutions from the Dutch Water Sector for public and private sectors in the target countries and finally to indirectly contribute to confidence-building between stakeholders of the countries involved at a technical level.
As the new package on circular economy is high on the Dutch Presidency Agenda, the Embassy is planning to organise a one-day conference on this subject in May. The purpose of the event is to introduce to the Hungarian public, mainly to companies, the most important issues related to the circular economy legislation and the Dutch views on the issue. Furthermore, we intend to present several best-practices of Dutch companies, including those present in Hungary, in fields of recycling, water, solid waste, energy, eco-labelling. The Netherlands hopes to agree with the Council conclusions on the non-legislative action plan and kick off debate on definitions and targets for recycling. Moreover, the Dutch government has the ambition to position the Netherlands as circular hotspot
As a continuation of the 2015 June Workshop on the Sustainability of NGOs organized in Budapest, in April (7, 14, 21) 2016 the Embassy will organize a capacity building roadshow of technical assistance in Miskolc, Szekszárd, and Veszprém for Hungarian NGOs.
The objectives of this roadshow are as follows:
1) to inform countryside NGOs and other relevant partners about the Dutch view on the role of NGOs and the value of the rule of law in the Netherlands;
2) a) to support the sustainability of Hungarian NGOs in the countryside (i.e. to find, have access to and to use the variety of available financial sources to support their activities, such as EU funds, innovative and new ways of funding, CSR* related support of the corporate sector), and b) CSR as a key instrument
in Dutch foreign policy, to discuss ways of involving the civil society sector in company CSR activities, and
3) to induce support for potential future bilateral cooperation by creating a forum for dialogue with speakers from the Netherlands, corporate actors and local governments.
*CSR = corporate social responsibility
The label Smart City is a hotly contested term with several definitions ranging from cities governed by information technologies to corporate digital services offering a personally tailored urban environment to new platforms empowering bottom-up initiatives and participation. The reality of smart cities includes all of the above and more, making use of networked technologies and data to provide efficient, effective, open and transparent governance and new forms of collaboration in order to create liveable and environmentally, socially and economically sustainable communities. Ultimately, the smartness of cities will be measured by the smartness of citizens.
Therefore, the core agenda is making people smarter by providing opportunities to learn and get involved in the making and maintaining of urban spaces and systems. Information technologies can help to establish incremental strategies instead of top-down master plans, offering options for testing and correcting ideas. These ambitions will be translated into concrete urban interventions, workshops, seminars and educational exchange projects during the presidency period.
The Dutch embassy has been an ardent supporter of urban cycling in Budapest since the boom of the local cycling culture in the mid-2000`s, led by the grass-root initiative Critical Mass and the professional organisation Hungarian Cyclists` Club. In the first half of 2016 several programmes will take place in this field.
14 April will be European Bike Day (a joint project of Dutch embassies in Europe to promote cycling with workshops, seminars, exhibitions, contests, in close collaboration with local stakeholders. In Amsterdam, a photo exhibition will open: ‘Europe by Bicycle’). The Budapest events will be
- The opening of a grand-scale bike exhibition at the Museum of Applied Arts
- The first annual bike platform for Hungarian Cyclists’ Club/municipality/government bodies
On 23 April the I Bike Budapest cross-city rally will take place, attracting tens of thousands of cyclists and opened by the Dutch ambassador. The weekend of I Bike Budapest will host the Dropstuff project, a live video stream connection between Amsterdam and Budapest, with virtual reality games accessible for the general public in the Hungarian capital.