European Commission opens direct attack on national democracy

20 November 2017

European Commission opens direct attack on national democracy

A local authority decides to try to prevent child abuse in daycare centres by granting a permit to groups wanting to provide this service only if they can guarantee that a minimum of two workers will be in attendance at all times. Until now you could take such a decision, provided you informed the European Commission, which was required because service providers who cannot provide two workers at all times would be excluded, restricting the free movement of services. But as long as you didn't hear anything from the Commission, you could go ahead.

Now the Commission wants to change that, so that local authorities can only take such a decision if the Commission agrees. The burden of proof now lies entirely with the local authority. What interests are of such importance that they can restrict the free movement of services? In short, how dare you put the interests of children before those of service providers?

Following the information being provided to the Commission, three months are given for negotiations between the Netherlands, the other member states and the Commission. If this doesn't go well for the local authority, the Commission can to refuse to allow them to impose the rule. Once again they have three months to decide. In short, half a year after a local authority wants to implement a measure, you're still waiting. If it doesn't go well, you won't be allowed to take the measure at all.

This is, of course, a direct attack on local democracy, but it doesn't stop there as the same goes for the regional authorities (known as Provincial authorities in the Netherlands) and even for our national parliament. These too must wait on the Commission. Together with the Union of Dutch Local Authorities I'm fighting in the European Parliament against this nonsense. In my view, the Commission's plans should be binned. Have they gone mad?

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