The Netherlands benefits from a strong EU

The Netherlands benefits from a strong EU

‘The EU must be reformed. The Netherlands and the UK are in agreement on that point. To overcome the crisis and achieve sustainable growth, the flaws in the euro must be mended, the internal market must be enhanced and free-trade agreements must be concluded with the US and Asian countries. The member states need to institute the necessary reforms, and Brussels will have to tighten its belt and work more efficiently. The UK and the Netherlands are allied on almost all these issues. This is why we want to keep the British on board in the EU. The EU must be reformed from the inside, not by walking away.’

These are some of the main points of foreign minister Frans Timmermans’ response to the speech on Europe given this morning by the British Prime Minister David Cameron.

Mr Timmermans went on to say, ‘The prime minister announced a referendum on British membership of the EU. That is a British affair. The Dutch government favours representative democracy. Such a move is not on the agenda in the Netherlands: despite all the justifiable criticism of the workings of the EU, membership itself is rarely, if ever, called into question, as witnessed by the outcome of the recent parliamentary elections. Indeed, our very prosperity and our jobs are dependent in large part on a well-functioning internal market and a healthy and strong common currency. So we must improve the way the market works and fix the flaws in the currency. This is something you do with your European partners.

‘The government is not interested in negotiating opt-outs, nor is it looking to redefine its relationship with the Union. As stated in the coalition agreement, the Netherlands does want to foster a debate in Europe on subsidiarity and re-examine what Europe should do and what the individual states can do.

‘I hope that the British government, together with us and other like-minded member states will devote all its energy to reforming the EU. A reformed, more democratic, more efficient and economically stronger EU is the best recipe for persuading all European citizens of the usefulness and necessity of this unique peace project.’

Source: Dutch Govenment

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