The Netherlands

The Netherlands in Europe

Description of The Netherlands

The Concise Encyclopedia of the European Union describes the netherlands in the following terms: [1] The EU’s sixth largest state and a founder member of Benelux, NATO, the ECSC and the EEC, The Netherlands is mildly federalist but has concentrated mainly on its own affairs, content to take something of a back seat in the conduct of the Community. It has supplied only one president of the Commission, the former agricultural commissioner, Sicco Mansholt, the architect of the CAP, who took over briefly in 1972 on Franco Malfatti’s resignation. None of the EU’s principal institutions are located in The Netherlands.

Known for its egalitarianism and the trading acumen of its business community, The Netherlands is well attuned to the social consciousness and employer-union consultative methods of the Eu (see more in this European encyclopedia). Since the mid-1980s its economy has become the envy of its neighbour, Germany, as successive centrist coalition governments have restored the health of state finances and reduced unemployment, achievements mainly attributable to a pared-down welfare state, wage moderation, part-time jobs (a remarkable 38% of all employment), early retirement and increased disability leave (see more in this European encyclopedia). The currency was in effective union with the D-Mark for some years and was one of the first wave participants in the single currency. The guilder’s apparent stability does, however, disguise a depreciation in real terms over the last 15 years as a result of falling inflation-adjusted wages, doubtless an important factor in the country’s above-average growth rate (see more in this European encyclopedia). In international affairs, to the extent that any pattern other than pragmatism can be discerned, the Dutch tend to favour free trade and an Atlanticist approach to defence.


Notas y References

  1. Based on the book “A Concise Encyclopedia of the European Union from Aachen to Zollverein”, by Rodney Leach (Profile Books; London)

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