European Parliament (EP)

   Representative body, originally of the European Coal and Steel Community, and later of the Euro pean Community and the European Union (EU), located in Stras bourg, France, and in Brussels. The Dutch have participated in this institution since its start in the 1950s. At first, the six participating countries delegated members from their own national parliaments. Since 1979, the EP’s members have been elected directly, every five years. Although the EP’s powers have grown over the years, they are still limited (e.g., no right of initiative yet). This is one of the reasons why many Dutch have not been inclined to vote for this parliament. So far, the Social Democrat Pieter Dankert (1934–2003) has been the only Dutch EPpresident (1982–1984).
   Since 2004, the Netherlands has had 27 out of 732 seats in the EP (from 25 member states), which is the sixth biggest delegation. The members of the EP, however, are not divided along national lines. Al though most of them have strong connections with national political parties, in the Parliament itself they belong to European factions; for example, the Christian Democrats of the Dutch Christen Democra tisch Appel (CDA)are associated with the European People’s Party European Democrats (EPD-ED), the Social Democrats of the Partij van de Arbeid (PvdA)with the Party of European Social Democrats (PES), and the Liberals of the Volkspartij voor Vrijheid en De mocratie (VVD)with the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Eu rope (ALDE). In the 2004 elections, former European Commission official Paul van Buitenen (1957– ) became the first Dutchman who was successful in the Netherlands with a typical European party: Eu ropa Transparant (two seats). His party belongs to the faction of Eu ropean Greens-European Free Alliance. In 1998, van Buitenen wrote a report about corruption in the European Commission of Jacques Santer, which had led to its fall.

Historical Dictionary of the Netherlands. . 2012.

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