Dutch Labour MPs have urged prime minister Mark Rutte not to ally himself too closely with his British counterpart when David Cameron makes a major speech on Europe in the Netherlands on Friday.
Although Cameron is welcome in the Netherlands, Rutte must distance himself from Britain’s desire for a separate status within Europe, the Financieele Dagblad quotes PvdA foreign affairs spokesman Michiel Servaes as saying.
The PvdA and Rutte’s VVD form the current coalition government.
‘It is important that prime minister Rutte states the Netherlands does not see any virtue in a separate status on key European areas of cooperation, such as the free movement of workers or agreements on minimum social standards,’ Servaes said. ‘And certainly not in terms of any special position for the financial sector.’
Cameron cannot pick out the bits of the European Union he likes, Servaes said. The most important issue at the moment is that Europe finds a solution for the economic crisis and Cameron must not complicate a possible treaty change with British wishes in other areas.
Cameron is due to give his speech on his vision of Europe and the British role in it on Friday. The location has not yet been made public.
According to the FD, business leaders and members of the diplomatic corps have been invited to attend.
At the weekend, Rutte’s spokesman told the Daily Mail: ‘We are not aiming for opt outs or something like that. Nor do we want to redefine our relationship with the European Union. What we want is a better functioning European Union, strengthening the internal market, getting the costs down – that kind of thing.’
Rutte’s office confirmed on Tuesday that Cameron and the Dutch prime minister will meet on Friday. They will discuss European issues, including the budget, the statement said.