Dutch PM Rutte: "I hate the Brexit"
There was no confusion about the Netherlands stance at the start of the talks about Britain's departure from the European Union in Brussels on Thursday. "I hate the Brexit from all angles", Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said as he arrived at the summit, according to ANP. "You are one of our most beloved partners. But the Brexit is a decision of the British people and you can't argue wit democracy."
The Dutch Prime Minister's hope for the summit is firstly to get some clarity. "It's crucial we know what the U.K. wants from the Brexit", he said, according to the Financial Times. "I hope we will come to some form of continued membership relations with internal market and customs union."
Countries from outside the EU are only allowed on the internal market if they accept the European Court of Justice's jurisdiction on EU legislation and the free movement of persons, goods, services and capital. The United Kingdom is currently against that, but Rutte hopes that there is parliamentary space to reconsider after Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservative Party suffered significant seat losses to the Labour Party in the U.K. election early this month.
On Thursday morning EU President Donald Tusk said that he dreams of the Brexit being revoked. Asked what he thinks about that, Rutte answered: "We all have that dream."
With Britain's departure, the Netherlands is losing one of its closest EU allies. The two countries have similar views on a number of topics, including defense and trade. According to Rutte, the Netherlands is now looking for new "friends" within the EU. "I want to help give shape to Europe. That requires cooperation", he said, according to newspaper AD.