Cover: Evaluatie rijksbrede Brexit-inzet van de Nederlandse overheid: Eindrapport

Evaluatie rijksbrede Brexit-inzet van de Nederlandse overheid: Eindrapport

[Evaluation of the Dutch government's efforts to prepare for Brexit]

Published Dec 19, 2022

by Stijn Hoorens, Fook Nederveen, Giselle Schellekens, Douwe Hylkema, Romana Michelon, Vincent Janssen, Iris Leussink, Christian Van Stolk, Robert Wester

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Research Questions

  1. How was the Dutch position determined and were interests adequately represented?
  2. Was the Dutch government sufficiently prepared for the potential consequences of Brexit?
  3. How much did Dutch coordination and domestic preparations cost, how was that money spent, and were these expenditures effective?

Note: This report is in Dutch. An English-language summary is available.

After the British vote to leave the European Union, the stakes were high for the Netherlands. The United Kingdom is one of the Netherlands' main trading partners and tens of thousands of Dutch citizens resided, studied, or lived in the UK on the basis of their EU citizenship — and vice versa. The Dutch preparations for Brexit extended to the full breadth of the central government, as EU regulations affect almost all policy areas. Although the European Commission led the negotiations with the UK, the Dutch government wanted to ensure that Dutch interests were properly represented, Dutch laws and regulations were adapted in preparation for the new European external border, and that other stakeholders such as citizens and businesses were informed and properly prepared.

The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs commissioned RAND Europe and Berenschot to evaluate whether the central government achieved these goals. Based on a mixed-methods approach consisting of desk research, stakeholder interviews, an online survey and focus groups, we assessed how the Netherlands determined its position in the Brexit negotiations between the EU and the UK, the extent that Dutch efforts were reflected in the Withdrawal and Trade and Cooperation agreements, the Dutch government’s preparations for the consequences of Brexit (through contingency planning, preparedness measures, crisis management, public-private partnerships, and campaigns) and whether public expenditures were effective.

Key Findings

  • The government of the Netherlands was well organised for the Brexit negotiations between the UK and the EU, which contributed to effective advocacy during the negotiations.
  • Stakeholders within the Dutch government believe the Netherlands was well prepared for the consequences of Brexit due to effective interdepartmental cooperation and planning. Companies and citizens also predominantly reflect positive on the government's efforts, though much less so by Dutch citizens living in the UK.
  • Insufficient budgetary information was present or provided to assess effectiveness. Where we did have detailed information, however, we found no evidence that the funds were spent inefficiently.

Research conducted by

The research described in this report was prepared for the Ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken and conducted by RAND Europe.

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