State of the European Union

The Hall of Knights with members of the Senate, the House of Representatives and members of the European Parliament in a meeting.
On Thursday 3 December the Conference of Presidents took place in the Hall of Knights, a meeting of members of the Senate and the House of Representatives with members of the European Parliament.

Every year in spring the House has a debate about the so-called State of the Union. The debate on Monday 7 December was an extra debate, held on the occasion of the Dutch EU- presidency in 2016. In an official document entitled "State of the European Union - presidency edition 2016" the Government set out its ideas about the European Union. The refugees issue and the terrorist attacks in Europe require according to the Government. This general principle forms the basis of a number of policy priorities for the EU-presidency in 2016. The first priority is the role of Europe as innovator and jobs engine. The second priority is an integrated approach to migration and international security. The third priority is making Europe's finance future-proof and the fourth priority is the climate and energy policy.

Dutch MEPs participated in the debate

Dutch MEPs participated in the special debate about the State of the Union. During the State of the Union debate they are allowed to take the seat of one of their fellow party members in the House. They are welcome to make a contribution to the debate, but cannot interrupt the members of the House, the members of the Cabinet or each other. The Speaker of the House can deviate from this rule in case of a reply to the contribution of the MEP in question. MEPs do not have the right to put forward motions, nor the right to co-sign motions put forward by members of the House.

Parliamentary conferences

The House of Representatives and the Senate will jointly organize six inter-parliamentary conferences during the Dutch EU-presidency. The motto is: "Working towards parliamentary engagement in EU-decision making". The Senate and the House of Representatives will focus on human trafficking and energy issues with two topical conferences. Besides, the Dutch parliament is to organize four bi-annual inter-parliamentary conferences that are on the agenda of each country that holds the EU-Presidency. Two of these are COSAC conferences. The acronym COSAC comes from the French name "Conférence des Organes Spécialisés dans les Affaires Communautaires". It is the conference of committees for Union affairs of parliaments of the European Union. The third conference is about the EU's common foreign and security policy. The fourth conference is about Europe's budget policy.