Dutch PM Rutte “really impressed” by new UK PM Truss at Prague meetings
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte had a "fantastic" meeting with the new British prime minister, Liz Truss, in Prague. "I'm really impressed," he said after the first summit with the 44 leaders from almost the entire European continent. In their own discussion on the side of the meeting they discussed closer cooperation in the North Sea, migration, and continuing their efforts to support Ukraine.
It was the first time since the United Kingdom left the European Union on 31 January 2020 that a British prime minister was present at a meeting where the leaders of the 27 European Union countries were also present. For Rutte, it was his first connection with Truss.
The organizers of the Meeting of the European Political Community counted her arrival as an important success. Earlier, Truss was critical of the initiative. The British government, which is still arguing with the European Union about the aftermath of Brexit, is apprehensive about ending up in a European Union project. Rutte repeatedly assured that is not the intention of the new consultation platform.
Behind the scenes they worked hard to smooth over the soured relationship between London and Brussels. According to Rutte, "we should not fight each other in these times of crisis and that terrible war.” He said he was feeling optimistic about the situation. The talks are being held between the European Commission and the British government. "I am very happy with the signals I am hearing from both Brussels and London," said Rutte.
Truss and Rutte spoke about several issues, including energy cooperation in the North Sea, "about matters such as hydrogen, wind, gas and connections between Great Britain and the Netherlands, but also Germany, Belgium and France,"he said. Earlier in the day, Rutte had praised the leading role that the United Kingdom has taken on in the European resistance against the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“It was the United Kingdom basically providing that leadership organizing the necessary talks and platforms within Europe to organize ourselves. So I really want to complement Liz Truss for the British leadership,” he said. He also praised the “excellent” bilateral relationship between the UK and the Netherlands.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times