NL's coronavirus response not too late, but too lax, Dutch PM says
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has "drawn the conclusion" that the Dutch approach to the coronavirus pandemic fell short, he said after a video-meeting with his European counterparts on Thursday. According to him, the Netherlands' response was not too late, but the measures were not strong enough, ANP reports.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel criticized EU Member States' lack of urgency in tackling the coronavirus during the meeting. And Rutte agrees that curbing the spread of this virus "is really a national matter". Member States, including the Netherlands, must act quickly and decisively against this virus. "Europe has no added value in combating the acute epidemic," he said to the news wire.
Cooperation and coordination with the other EU countries is important for simplifying travel, with uniform quarantine rules and recognizing other countries' Covid-19 test results, Rutte said. But no concrete agreements on this front were not made during Thursday's meeting. According to the Dutch Prime Minister, that is up to the health ministers and health authorities to coordinate, not the heads of state.
He and Merkel both stressed that keeping the borders open is an important objective. It is essential that goods, including medical gear and medicines, and people, including doctors and Covid-19 patients, can freely move through the EU. The European Commission made 220 million euros available for transferring Covid-19 patients from Member States with overflowing hospitals, to countries that can treat them.
Although the regular meeting of the EU leaders "does not bring completely new insights", Rutte still considers it a "good initiative", he said. The next meeting will be in three or four weeks.