|Frans Timmermans the EU's point man|
The 2013 Dutch Kings’s Speech (Speech from the Throne, ‘’Troonrede’’) by Dutch King William Alexander at the opening of the new Dutch parliamentary year, provoked a lot of reactions, both domestically and internationally. In the speech, it seemed as if the Dutch post-war welfare state was abolished, substituted by a so-called ‘’participation society’’ based on mutual individualism.
This was only partly true. Indeed, the coalition of conservative liberals (VVD) and social-democrats (PvdA) did design and put into action an unprecedented decentralisation operation towards city councils and social organizations (care, employment), but in terms of rights, one cannot seriously argue that the Netherlands is getting rid of its welfare state.
This popular Dutch Foreign Minister is now ‘’the second man’’ of the new Juncker European Commission. It is unclear at this moment whether his portfolio in the Commission as ‘’First Vice-President, in charge of Better Regulation, Inter-Institutional Relations, the Rule of Law and the Charter of Fundamental Rights’’ is really a powerful job in the Berlaymont hierarchy.
Some say that given his personality, language skills, and good connections with Juncker, as well as his huge European and international network, Timmermans will perform outside the boundaries of his formal functional profile, and will play an important role in international affairs and European foreign policy. He might even become one of the strongest figureheads for European Social Democracy political grouping in Brussels.
I (Rene Cuperus) myself argued – in an article writtenearlier together with Adriaan Schout of Clingendael, the Dutch Chatham House – that the secret mission for Frans Timmermans might be helping to prevent ‘’Brexit’’ from happening.
Read more: Rene Cuperus: The Secret Mission Of Frans Timmermans