Hochspannung im Tiefland

Zwischen Belgien und den Niederlanden, zwei Gründungsmitgliedern der Europäischen Union, herrscht zunehmend Uneinigkeit über die gegenwärtige Bedeutung des Projekts Europa. Den Kernpunkt der Auseinandersetzung bildet momentan der EU-Reformvertrag, aber die Wurzeln des Konflikts reichen weiter zurück. Presseberichten zufolge soll das Zerwürfnis einmal so gravierend geworden sein, dass der französische Präsident Nicolas Sarkozy intervenieren musste.

Europa kann sich ein Scharmützel zwischen diesen beiden Gründungsmitgliedern nicht leisten und deshalb ist es höchste Zeit, die Emotionen beiseite zu lassen und die unterschiedlichen Standpunkte über die zukünftige Richtung der europäischen Integration einer Prüfung zu unterziehen. Als ehemaliger holländischer Staatssekretär für Europäische Angelegenheiten und Benelux-Koordinator bin ich der Meinung, dass die Niederlande und Belgien wieder einander ergänzende Rollen spielen sollten.

Von allen Anfang an repräsentierten diese Länder die unterschiedlichen Aspekte der europäischen Identität: Belgien als industrielles, kontinentaleuropäisch orientiertes Land, zweisprachig und Bindeglied zu Südeuropa im Gegensatz zu den stark landwirtschaftlich geprägten Niederlanden mit ihrer Handelstradition und der angelsächsischen, atlantischen Ausrichtung.

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