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Jaar 2017 x Rubriek Discussion x

    Reading the most recent and most revealing book of Rinus van Schendelen leads to the conclusion that lobbying is not the strongest side of the Netherlands, which is rather strange for a small country with an external orientation that goes back for centuries. As one of the (six) founding fathers of European cooperation the Netherlands could not hold this special position in the EU. The money-driven attitude of the Netherlands may be profitable short-term, but is harmful for the position of the country and for its decentralized authorities (municipalities and provinces). The Dutch political scientist Rinus van Schendelen is well known for his long years of investigation into ‘lobbying’, but what in fact can be called public affairs (PA). In his older work Van Schendelen discusses PA mainly as a managerial, instrumental, Machiavellian means for steering private and public interests. In his new book he further develops this approach by investigating processes which can contribute to the use of PA instruments for sustainable effects. The new book clearly shows that nowadays the intelligent use of social media is a necessary supplement to the intelligent use of traditional PA instruments. Because of the influence of social media an adequate training of PA professionals is urgently needed in social psychology and other relevant disciplines to prevent floor tourists and other adventurers entering the PA scene.


Dr. Ed Figee
Dr. E.L. Figee is van huis uit journalist en promoveerde in 2017 aan de Universiteit Twente. Hij werkte van 1979 tot 2011 nagenoeg onafgebroken in de Haagse politieke arena, aanvankelijk als regionaal parlementair redacteur en vanaf 1995 als Haags (en Brussels) adviseur voor Oost-Nederland. Daarnaast participeerde hij wereldwijd in missies van VNG International voor het revitaliseren van lokale democratieën (veelal in post war countries).

    Last year the first Dutch municipalities declared themselves TTIP-free and the list is growing. The count now stands at 27 Dutch municipalities, three Dutch provinces and two Dutch water boards. TTIP means that foreign companies can be confident that investments in a host country are secure and cannot simply be eliminated or nullified. But what if investments are at odds or will be become at odds with measures a government has taken or intends to take, for example to protect the environment? Does the government still have that freedom under TTIP? Or is it only if it is prepared to pay large amounts of money? Comparable practices show that it may involve significant amounts of money. What can we expect from TTIP in this respect? The question central in this essay is if and, if so to what extent, does the investment protection that TTIP offers, in combination with the arbitration that is foreseen in the treaty, impede local authorities in taking decisions in the general interest.


Prof. mr. dr. Helen Stout
Prof. mr. dr. H.D. Stout is hoogleraar Juridische aspecten van hybride organisaties aan de Erasmus School of Law van de Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam en redacteur van Bestuurswetenschappen.
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