HNP priorities and focus areas

The political agendas of the twelve Dutch provinces and the Association of Dutch Provinces (IPO) and the current European policy developments define our priorities and form the basis for our joint efforts.

The complexity of the EU policy process and EU decision-making require a selection and prioritization for our work. The HNP closely monitors new EU policy that affects the core business of the provinces directly.

HNP priorities concern a clear common interest for all twelve provinces regarding policy and funds. Provinces have a direct responsibility for the implementation in parts of European policy and the European programs For every priority and dossier an HNP working group has been created, besides a political representative..  Synergy is realized and continued on specific topics, in close cooperation with the relevant partners.


The HNP priorities

The HNP priorities are in line with the principal tasks:

  • Climate & Energy
  • Digitization
  • Regional economy
  • Agrofood

Climate & Energy

Commission President Ursula von der Leyen stated in her ‘State of the Union’ in September 2020 that CO2 emissions must be reduced by at least 55% by 2030 compared to 1990. Otherwise, the goal of climate neutrality by 2050 – net zero CO2 emissions – is not feasible. The year 2021 will be dominated by a whole package of changes to the existing EU legislation and new proposals, necessary to achieve the 55% reduction in 2030 (Fit for 55 package). This concerns the directives on energy efficiency, renewable energy, alternative fuels and energy efficiency buildings, also important for the Dutch provinces. In doing so, the HNP and IPO will work together and determine a position on the 55% CO2 reduction target of the EC as a guideline for our commitment in Brussels. The EC proposals for the 2030 climate law, climate pact and climate adaptation published in 2020 will also be negotiated further in 2021, with monitoring and follow-up from the HNP. The Green Deal becomes the blueprint for the green transformation and the most important growth strategy with 30% of the investments aimed at climate change.


The digital transformation is taking place at an increasing pace and has a major impact on the regional economy and the provinces. The European Commission sees further promotion of digitization as one of the top priorities for the European Union. In 2021, several ongoing, new legislative and non-legislative policy initiatives will be at the centre of the EU’s digital transformation. It concerns the European Digital Services Act (DSA), the realization of the White Paper Artificial Intelligence (AI), the targets for Europe’s digital decade 2030 and the Data package combined with the Database Directive. European resources will become available for this digital transformation; Both through the European recovery fund NextGenerationEU and through the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) 2021-2027. Including the Recovery and Resilience Fund (RRF) and the Digital Europe program. As regional governments, the Dutch provinces have their own important role to play in the digital transformation.

Regional economy

Regional economy will remain a priority in 2021. The economic crisis resulting from COVID-19 and the transition to a sustainable recovery in 2021 are on top of the political agenda. First of all, the final MFF agreement must be translated into the sub-regulations of the structural funds and the EU recovery package. Early 2021 will be dominated by the results of the trilogues on the Structural Funds, European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), Interreg, the Fund for a Just Transition (FRT) and Next Generation EU. In addition, preparations will start in 2021 for the lobby on structural funds 2027+ with the drawing up of a communication strategy to highlight the importance of structural funds in a sustainable recovery. The SME strategy and the Industry strategy are included in this.

The process of establishing the European frameworks of the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RFF) is closely monitored. This provides direction for the development of the national recovery plan and is a condition for funding from the RFF, which is combined with provincial investments and projects. In 2021, the further elaboration of the implementation agenda of the IPO Regional Economy Recovery Plan will be central factors.


The name Agrofood has been chosen because in 2020, in addition to the ongoing discussion of the CAP regulations 2021-2027, new proposals such as the “Farm to fork” strategy were published. In this strategy, the emphasis is on the entire food production and value chain, including food safety and consumer protection.

The reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) will continue in 2021 and is an important part of the Green Deal. The HNP remains actively engaged in this dossier, both towards the European Parliament and through regular feedback from the Council working groups by the Dutch Permanent Representation to the EU (NL PV EU).


Focus area’s

A HNP focus area is a theme or EC proposal which requires specific attention. The dynamics and internal organization vary per focus area and are not one size fits all. The actions of our spokespersons depends on the urgency, the lobbying question and the expected importance for several provinces.

Based on  the provincial agendas, the following three subjects receive special attention in addition to the four priority files:

  • Sustainable and healthy living environment
  • Mobility
  • Circular economy