Netherlands and France will work together more in EU, defense
The Netherlands and France will further strengthen the ties between them. They want to cooperate more in the European Union and defense. Both countries agreed to this after a meeting between government delegations in the French capital on Wednesday.
The Dutch Cabinet is increasingly focused on France. This first consultation between the two governments sealed that direction that took shape after the British left the European Union. Until now, such government consultations have only taken place with neighbors Belgium and Germany.
After the meeting, the governments released a joint statement saying, among other things, that both countries want to work for an EU that can stand on its own two feet. They want to make further efforts to make Europe more sustainable and strengthen the European asylum and migration policy.
In the military field, they agreed to seek more cooperation in the navy. The Netherlands and France also want to intensify their collaboration in "regions of strategic importance" like Ukraine, the Sahel countries, and the Middle East. This must also happen in the Caribbean, including in the fight against (drug) crime.
"It is necessary for both countries to cooperate more bilaterally in the field of defense and to act more in a European context. The Russian invasion of Ukraine underlines the need to tackle European defense cooperation with greater urgency," said Dutch Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren.
The Dutch Cabinet delegation, led by Prime Minister Mark Rutte, consisted of Ministers Ollongren, Sigrid Kaag (Finance), Wopke Hoekstra (Foreign Affairs), Dilan Yeşilgöz-Zegerius (Justice and Security), and Rob Jetten (Climate and Energy).
They spoke with French President Emmanuel Macron and five members of his Cabinet. Rutte and Macron also met separately. The two liberal heads of government also get along well personally. Rutte said he hoped to continue working with Macron after the French presidential elections in April.
Reporting by ANP