Rutte, Macron and Biden not yet ready to give Ukraine F-16 jets
The Netherlands and France will not supply Ukraine with F-16 fighter jets at this point, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and French President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday after meeting in The Hague. United States president Joe Biden also recently said “no” when asked whether he would send jets to help Ukraine in the war against Russia.
“There are no deliveries, there are no requests either,” Rutte said about F-16s to Ukraine, NOS reports. He and Macron both stressed that there are no taboos in supporting Ukraine to win the war against Russia. “But it would really be a big next step if it comes to that,” Rutte said. Both he and Macron worry that jets would result in an escalation of the war.
Bienvenue, cher ami.— Mark Rutte (@MinPres) January 30, 2023
Ahead of the extra #EUCO in February, I received President @EmmanuelMacron in The Hague. With our joint support for Ukraine in the face of continued Russian aggression, as well as the issues of migration, energy and the EU economy, we have lots to discuss. pic.twitter.com/V82w1NqCS7
Several Western countries recently pledged to supply Kyiv with main battle tanks. The Netherlands may also send Leopard 2 tanks, which it leases from Germany, to Ukraine.
John Kirby, the White House National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications, also pointed to the recent promise of tanks when defending the Biden administration’s decision not to send F-16s to Ukraine. “What I can tell you is that there’s a lot of capability that is being sent and will be sent in the coming weeks and months,” Kirby said to CNN.
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskky asked his Western allies for warplanes in a video message last week. Rutte and Macron responded cautiously to that request, Biden with an outright “no.”
The Dutch Prime Minister and French President also discussed the increasing migration flow to Europe and the EU industry’s competitive position against the Americans. The Netherlands and France broadly agree on both points, Rutte and Macron said.
Rutte wants a stricter migration policy in Europe - better border controls and for asylum seekers to be sheltered in the country where they arrive. “We are in broad agreement about that,” Rutte said. Macron wants the EU to prevent its asylum system from being abused. “We have to improve the system to keep it, he said.”
The two heads of state also discussed the American Inflation Reduction Act, which amounts to government support for American businesses to become more sustainable. That may have consequences for the European industry’s competitive position. Macron wants to create a European fund of 380 billion euros for similar support to EU businesses. According to Rutte, there is a lot of money in various European pots that can be used for this. But he also wants to address the “unintended consequences” of U.S. state aid.