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NHC welcomes discussion on EU Rule of Law in Dutch Parliament

29 January 2021

On Wednesday, 27 January 2021, Dutch parliamentarians debated rule of law developments in the European Union, following EU-level debates and the adoption of a new Rule of Law policy instrument in the EU late last year (find out more in NHC Committee Member Jaap de Zwaan’s poignant analysis on the new EU Rule of Law instrument).

The NHC has discussed rule of law matters on various occasions with representatives of the Dutch Parliament. We welcome the increased focus on rule of law in Europe on the level of national parliaments and are happy to see that many of our proposals have been taken on board by the rapporteurs. The Parliaments do indeed have a ‘unique’ and important role to play in enforcing their democratic legitimacy on EU-wide rule of law state. We support the creation of a permanent working group on rule of law matters within the framework of COSAC, the Conference of Parliamentary Committees for Union Affairs of EU Parliaments, and welcome that this proposal has also been taken on board by the rapporteurs.

As Dutch parliamentarian Salima Belhaj stated during the debate:

A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. As the Netherlands, we have a duty to protect the rights and freedoms of citizens, not only in the Netherlands but in the whole European Union.

The NHC has often called for increased attention to this issue (by hosting events, publishing articles, and appearing on radio, television and in newspapers to comment on the issue), and applauds the inclusion of civil society recommendations in the report presented by Dutch parliamentarians Bosman and Van der Graaf, which served as the cornerstone of this debate.

 The NHC welcomes the national level debate that took place in the Dutch parliament last Wednesday on issues of rule of law and conditionality in the EU. We advocate for other national Parliaments in the EU to also hold debates on these themes and engage with civil society in shaping these debates. We are happy to continue our conversation with parliamentarians on this subject, both in the Netherlands as in other member states through COSAC. We look forward to continuing our collaboration with the Committee for European Affairs of the Dutch Second Chamber after the next elections. – Pepijn Gerrits, Executive Director NHC.

For a full recording of the debate and the report presented to the parliament (in Dutch) please see here: