As one of the six founding member-states of the European Union, the Netherlands has been at the heart of the European integration project from its inception. Looking back on the Netherlands’ role in European cooperation and integration during the 1950s and 1960s, Joseph Luns, the country’s long-standing Foreign Minister, depicted himself as an exponent of a «Dutch vision». This vision, Luns suggested, enabled the country to act as a leading force in Europe, thus demonstrating that in specific constellations in international affairs, a middle-sized or even a small country can play an important role.
What was this «Dutch vision» of Europe and was Luns right in ascribing so much importance to it? In this book, the author sets out to investigate whether, under which conditions and by what means the Netherlands has exerted an «engineering influence» on the economic and institutional architecture of the European Union. It sheds fresh light on the policies of the Netherlands and its Benelux partners in the process of making Europe as we know it today.
Achieving the Common Market may well be considered the ultimate success of contemporary Dutch diplomacy.