Foto van Jeanine Hennis Plasschaert
Foto van Jeanine Hennis Plasschaert

Lower Chamber and Europarliament: Rivalry

Defence Minister and MEP Jeanine Hennis Plasschaert. Photo: Chatham House.

On Thursday 6 June, we can go to the ballot box to cast our vote for the European Parliament. In the coming weeks, we will highlight a number of interesting articles around this topic in the 'Europe, pretty important' section.

"Jeanine, you may be right in what you say about the importance of Europe, but don't forget: at the end of the day, we are playing the premier league here, and you in the European Parliament are only playing first division."

Those words were heard by MEP Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert from a Labour Party spokesperson. There is quite a bit of friction, lack of understanding and unfamiliarity between the Lower Chamber and the European Parliament. 

Sometimes this concerns the rules of conduct and parliamentary culture. "They have nothing to say in Brussels but deserve more than us". And vice versa: "In The Hague, they are only media-oriented and aren't so focused on the long term". 

Financial disputes were also regularly the order of the day. Traditionally, the European Parliament tended to ask for more money than the member states were willing to pay. In the 1980s, criticism grew from the Netherlands: Europe's revenues should determine its spending, according to Finance Minister Onno Ruding (CDA). In the nineties and the noughties, criticism was also voiced, such as why did the Netherlands have to be the EU's largest net contributor while regular cuts had to be made at home?

Sometimes, differences in policy content provoke irritation. A recent example is the Nature Restoration Act. Although the European Parliament had previously agreed to the law, the Netherlands now voted against it in the European Council of Ministers. In doing so, the cabinet responded to a motion by NSC and BBB calling on the government to vote against the law. 


Read more about rivalry between Lower Chamber and Europarliament:

Damme, Leon van (2012). Champions League of slechts eerste divisie? Rivaliteit tussen Tweede Kamerleden en Europarlementariërs. Jaarboek Parlementaire Geschiedenis 2012. De Verenigde Staten van Europa (p. 35-45).

Reiding, Hilde (2014). Compromis en confrontatie. Over de ontwikkeling en het gebruik van de begrotingsrechten van het Europees Parlement Jaarboek Parlementaire Geschiedenis 2014. Het geld regeert (p. 55-67).

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Centre for Parliamentary History