- 'Europe' as a 'Hothouse' for Dutch Domestic Politics, 1948-1967
- Book title
- European parties and the European integration process, 1945-1992
- Pages (from-to)
- Brussels: P.I.E. Peter Lang
- Euroclio: Studies and documents
- Volume | Edition (Serie)
- Document type
- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
- Amsterdam School for Regional, Transnational and European Studies (ARTES)
Over the years, Europeanisation has changed Dutch politics in important ways. One instance of this is the way in which European negotiations have strengthened the prime minister’s position as the head of government (especially after the establishment of the European Council in 1974). Traditionally, the Dutch prime minister had always been regarded as a primus inter pares in the cabinet. More recently, the position of individual ministers in the Netherlands vis-a-vis the national parliament was similarly strengthened as a result of increased European deliberation in the Council of Ministers.
But Europeanisation cannot be understood solely as (strong or weak) external adaptational pressure. Around 1950, Europeanisation in Dutch party politics was primarily a prospective project, driven by images and expectations of a future "Europe". However, such an imagined future European political culture, as conceived by Dutch Labour politicians, was in many ways a projection of their own ideas about "appropriate behaviour" in the national politics of the 1950s. The expectation of a future integrated "Europe" reinforced the willingness in the Dutch Labour Party to cooperate with Catholic politics on a national level.
A few years later, "Europe" made possible a similar opening within the ARP and the CHU. The future "Europe" the ARP politicians imagined mirrored the anti-statist cornerstone of their own ideology. At the same time, Dutch Christian Democratic collaboration on a European level was a cause for ideological restraint. Collaboration in European networks did, in fact, change the parties’ (self) perception. In many ways, it could be argued that it served as a test for Christian Democratic collaboration at the national level, which eventually facilitated the merger of the three confessional parties. In that sense, "Europe" did serve as a "hothouse" for national politics.
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