Many of Brussels' laws and regulations affect the policies that Dutch provinces pursue. The province of Utrecht has an office in Brussels, through which the province keeps abreast of relevant developments and issues appropriate responses. The province is represented by a lobbyist. The province cooperates closely in Brussels, both with the three other Randstad provinces (North and South Holland and Flevoland) and with the eight remaining Dutch provinces. All the provinces work together in the House of the Dutch Province (HNP). From within the HNP, the policy priorities of all twelve provinces are jointly promoted. These include:
the future of regional policy;
policy on climate and energy;
important legislation in the area of the environment and water;
the future of the Rural Development Fund.
A voice in Brussels
Provincial representatives aim to voice the viewpoints of their voters within EU institutes. How do they accomplish this? By:
establishing and maintaining contacts with members of the European Parliament;
drafting position papers. These are documents containing visions on the services provided by the European Commission;
participating in advisory bodies such as the European Union Committee of the Regions.
With the objective to align EU policy and legislation with that of the provinces.
From within the HNP, the four Randstad provinces cooperate under the name Regio Randstad sharpening their focus on specific issues and policy themes in Brussels. 'The Strategische EU-Randstadagenda (2012-2015)' was drafted for this purpose. The agenda contains the EU strategy formulated by the Randstad provinces. The province developed the Regio Randstad jaarprogramma (Randstad Region Annual Programme) in order to respond to current developments.
Committee of the Regions
The Committee of the Regions, an advisory body of the EU, serves as the voice of Europe's local and regional governments. The Committee has local and regional administrators. The Netherlands contributes twelve members and the same number of deputy members to the Committee. The European Commission advises the Committee in several areas of policy, including the environment, transport, culture and economic cohesion. The Committee also offers advice and proposes its own resolutions.