Netherlands' interests sufficiently covered in Brexit deal, Dutch FM says
The Netherlands' interests are "sufficiently covered" in a trade agreement made by the European Union and the United Kingdom, Minister Stef Blok of Foreign Affairs said in a letter to parliament after studying the Brexit deal reached last week, NOS reports.
The Netherlands had hoped for more ambition, the Minister said. "But this is the best possible outcome, partly in view of the position of the United Kingdom in the negotiations." He regrets that the deal was made so late, with only a few days left before the deadline. "The cabinet would rather have seen the agreement reached well before the end of the transition period."
Blok is pleased with agreements made on ensuring a level economic playing field. "The agreements in this agreement are without precedent and provide a good basis for combating unfair competition," he said. He also called it good news for the Netherlands that road transport in both directions "remains an open market".
The Netherlands is less pleased with agreements on fisheries, which were made "only at the last minute". Dutch fishermen may now catch considerably less fish in British waters than before the Brexit. According to Blok, the British took a hard stance on this point.
According to Blok, it is understandable that Dutch fishermen are disappointed by this. But these agreements were inevitable, he said. "It is also important for fisheries that a no-deal was averted, because it would have forced them to fish in a considerably smaller area in EU waters alone." He expects the EU will compensate affected fishermen.
Blok is also disappointed that the UK decided to leave the Erasmus student exchange program, which makes it more difficult for British students to study in the EU and vice versa.
The agreement is set to take effect on January 1, the end of the Brexit transition period. The European Parliament has yet to ratify the agreement. The expectation is that parliament will vote on it later in January. Until then, the agreements will provisionally apply.