This last element, which became known as the Dutch prealable Anglais, is interesting since it shows that for the Netherlands Atlanticism took priority over supranationalism. Because of Britain's special relationship with the USA, its accession to the Community would provide the Dutch with a powerful ally in promoting an Atlantic orientation within the EG. At the same time it was well known that the British were, (and still are) excessively wary of transferring some of their national sovereignty to a supranational organisation. The Dutch could not hope to get support for their plans in that direction from British membership of the Community. After the inconclusive 1961 summit the Dutch were gradually forced to accept compromise proposals, and they might have lost their struggle had not De Gaulle 'snatched defeat from the jaws of victory' by rejecting the compromises, reverting to his original plan, and vetoing British membership. In 1962 the Netherlands, now joined by Belgium, once again (and this time definitely) vetoed the proposals.
It is only in the late 1980s and early 1990s that the Atlantic orientation seems gradually to have been pushed into the background. The causes of this change - it is still little more than a shift in emphasis - are to be found on both sides of the Atlantic. The USA is perceived to be less focused on Europe than it was in the past. In the 1970s there were already growing doubts about the American guarantee of European security, and subsequently there were calls to develop a European defence option within the context of the Western European Union (WEU). Now that the Soviet threat has collapsed, the USA need no longer give priority to Europe's defence. A new, more globally-oriented, USA foreign policy is reflected in President Bush's 'new world order'. In economic terms, the US is forced more and more to look westward. This Pacific economic orientation of the USA has also weakened America's cross-Atlantic ties. At the same time, the international situation has changed for the Dutch, too. The Europe of the Six has become the Europe of the Twelve. From the Dutch point of view the most important of the new member states has been the UK. There is less need for an Atlantic reservation to European integration now that the Community includes a large extra-continental power to counter-balance Franco-German aspirations.
The Dutch are also less opposed to European political cooperation because they have learned from the 1973 Arab oil embargo that it can be risky to stand alone. Before 1973 the Netherlands had a strongly pro-Israel reputation, perhaps not always warranted by its actual policies. The Arab countries took particular offence at the Dutch adherence to the English version of resolution 242 of the UN Security Council, calling for Israeli withdrawal from 'occupied territories', rather than 'the occupied territories' mentioned in some other versions. When war broke out in the Middle East in 1973, the Dutch government unequivocally condemned the Arab countries, just as it had done in 1967. It refused to join the other EC member states in a common reaction because of the more pro-Arab attitude of the French in particular. For these reasons, in October 1973, the Arab countries imposed an oil embargo not only on the USA, but also on the Netherlands. The embargo of the Netherlands was even kept in place four months longer than that of the USA. Despite panicky reactions at first - 'car-free Sundays' were declared to save oil - the economic effect of the embargo was insignificant because oil was diverted from other EC countries to the Netherlands, despite their irritation over the Dutch obstinacy. The political effect has been more important. Not only have the Dutch distanced themselves more and more from Israel, but they have also come to see the advantages of a common European foreign policy.
Now that the renewed momentum of European integration has spilled over into closer military cooperation within the WEU, and in renewed proposals for a European Political Union, the Dutch take a less deviant stance than they did in the 1960s. Yet, when the Netherlands took over the EC presidency in July 1991, it attempted to redraft the existing Luxemburg proposal for the treaty to establish a European Political Union to include more supranationalist elements, and to allow a common security policy only as a complement to NATO, much to the annoyance of several other member states. Apparently the traditional reservations have not yet been completely abandoned.